Cons-in-Action Book Cover

Consciousness-in-Action: Toward an Integral Psychology of Liberation & Transformation

by Raúl Quiñones-Rosado, PhD, describes an approach to personal and social change in the context of oppression — society’s major hindrance to well-being and development. Drawing from psychology, sociology, cultural studies, social and integral theories, and over thirty years of work in communities-of-struggle and contemplative practice, this book proposes a decolonial framework for integral human well-being and development, a psychosocial analysis of the impact of identity-based power, and a liberatory-transformative praxis for transcending internalized superiority and inferiority rooted in racism, sexism, Eurocentrism, classism, and other forms of institutional oppression.

Consciousness-in-Action offers an alternative to prevailing dichotomous thinking and fragmented approaches aimed at personal or societal change which lack a broader, integral view of the whole and its dynamic nature. In so doing, the book emphasizes the impact of multiple, simultaneous oppressions on the integral development of persons, communities and societies, while it also asserts the vital role of social group identity development and other psycho-spiritual developmental processes on the path to liberation and transformation.

This book also describes principles and practices that guide the anti-oppression work of Colectivo Ilé (formerly the Institute for Latino Empowerment) and c-Integral, organizations committed to Latino/a leadership development, community organizing and social justice education.

Since its publication in 2007, Consciousness-in-Action has become required reading in academic programs in liberation psychology, social work, social justice education and counseling in the US and Latin America, and has been cited by leading thinkers in liberation and critical psychology internationally. It also enjoys broad appeal among political activists, community organizers, anti-oppression trainers, helping professionals and others engaged in local struggles and global change movements.

Available now at: Lulu Author Spotlight: Books by Raúl Quiñones-Rosado



Raúl Quiñones-Rosado, PhD

is a liberation psychologist, social justice educator and leadership coach.

Dr. Quiñones-Rosado is Founder & Principal of c-INTEGRAL,through which he teaches, trains and coaches people in the principles and practices of consciousness-in-action.

In the 1990s, Dr. Quiñones founded and directed the Institute for Latino Empowerment, an organization that was dedicated to anti-oppression leadership development and anti-racist community organizing in Massachusetts. Subsequently, he co-founded Ilé: Organizers for Consciousness-in-Action, which provided anti-oppression leadership development and engaged in social justice struggles in Puerto Rico.

A racial justice educator-organizer, Dr. Quiñones co-developed the Latino Challenges Toward Racial Justice workshop for people living and working in Latino communities across the United States. He also collaborates with other national multiracial antiracism organizations in the US. He is currently a Trainer with the Racial Equity Institute, and a former Core Trainer of The People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond’s Undoing Racismâ„¢  workshop. He served as national Coordinator of the Collaboration on Antiracism Learnings, Legacies and Leadership.

In his Identity, Power and Integral Change workshop and through his leadership coaching, Dr. Quiñones’ work focuses primarily on the importance of social power, social identity and emotional-relational development to human well-being and cultural transformation. Through this work and his writings, he continues to explore applications of decolonial, liberation, transpersonal and integral psychologies that support the integral development of people — particularly the development of those actively engaged in transformative social change.

Dr. Quiñones-Rosado holds a doctorate in psychology, specializing in integral, liberation and transformation psychologies. He is also trained in Psychosynthesis counseling and coaching, neurolinguistic programming, consciousness studies, and martial and healing arts. His writings have appeared in academic, spiritual, political, and professional publications. As Adjunct at the University of Puerto Rico and at Prescott College, he has taught undergraduate, masters and doctoral students. Also, he has presented the consciousness-in-action approach to audiences internationally.


Praise for Consciousness-in-Action:

“This is a unique book in its integrative, liberating, and transformative potential. The author does an exquisite job of synergizing personal, spiritual, communal, and social development. Transcending polarities and binaries, he offers us invigorating ways of working with individuals and communities to realize our human and collective potential. By using visual maps and engaging the reader in multiple ways, the author succeeds in connecting with readers passionately and reasonably.”

— Isaac Prilleltensky, PhD, Dean, School of Education, University of Miami; Co-Editor, Critical Psychology, and Community Psychology: In Pursuit of Liberation and Well-Being

“Raúl Quiñones-Rosado’s work is a much needed gift at this time in our history. His analysis of the issues that face human beings socially, culturally and politically is comprehensive. It is also correct. Adding to this profound understanding is wise guidance on being agents of change. And, what makes this book so very powerful, is that the invitation is to be an agent of change in a personally and spiritually healthy way. This is a book for real people wanting to live meaningful lives. It is a roadmap for personal and global change, within the context of spiritual well being. It is about consciousness in action–for the betterment of all people.”

— Dorothy Firman, EdD, Founder & Director, Psychosynthesis Training Program, The Synthesis Center, Amherst, MA

“Dr. Quiñones-Rosado’s new book is a very important contribution to the field of social activism and social change. His extensive knowledge of psychology, social theory and spiritual practice provides an excellent foundation for a holistic perspective that integrates traditional social ideals and values within a larger context that includes on-going development of individual potential and personal growth. Within Quiñones-Rosado’s model, human development and social transformation become a co-creative process for the unfolding of greater awareness, peace and true justice and compassion in the world.”

— Vernice Solimar, PhD, Chair, Integral Studies, John F. Kennedy University

“Raúl Quiñones Rosado’s book, Consciousness-in-Action, offers a cutting-edge synthesis of social change theory that opens up the pathway for liberating the oppressive forces at play in our societies while unleashing the transformative power within us all. For the next generation of organizers and activists, Raúl is the kind and warm-hearted social change elder that everyone young person has longed for and his ‘manual for integral change’ is one of the most significant guides for building the Movement of movements that is being called for in our time.”

— Joshua Gorman, Founder & Co-Coordinator, Generation Waking Up

Full Book Reviews:

Integral Leadership Review

Book Review: Consciousness-in-Action

by Russ Volckmann, Publisher and Editor

Have you ever been to an integral event? Workshops near Boulder, Colorado? Or ILP sessions in San Francisco or New York? Or Integral Leadership in Action in Texas? Or the Integral Theory Conference in Concord, California? I have not been to all of those, but I have been to enough to hear myself wondering, “Where are the people of color?” This is not a new experience. I had the same question when I attended the Organization Development Network conference, World Futures Conferences, or coach training events. In all of these cases I wondered how we, as thought and practice leaders around development and change, were isolated from the perspectives people of color might bring. Even more, it made me wonder about how we were dealing with the phenomena of oppression. Many of us were involved in the Civil Rights Movement (I am showing my age) or activities involved with opening opportunities to women or gay rights. Some have gone to other nations to work as Peace Corps Volunteers or with Habitat for Humanity or Doctors without Borders or similar organizations that offer support to those in poverty or suffering under economic and political oppression. But I have seen little energy for confronting such oppression since the anti-war movement in the Vietnam era.

My wife, Jeannie, has a passion for addressing the problems of oppressed people. She consistently stands with the working class in economic and political issues. And she has more recently been concerned with the cause of the Tohono O’Odham tribe in Arizona. It seems that efforts to fortify the border with Mexico has channeled would be immigrants through some of the most naturally dangerous land in the Southwest. More and more, would be immigrants are dying on the Tohono O’Odham reservation. Furthermore, the construction of fences through the reservation and along the border with Mexico is blocking the historic paths between family members in the tribe, some of whom live on the Mexican side of the border. Fifteen minute journeys now take hours, 150 miles each way. The US Government has issued cards of passage to the Mexican Tohono O’Odham tribe members, but this does not address the issues raised by fortifying the border.

In fact, the Tohono O’Odham reservation, the product of a treaty with the Tohono O’Odham Nation and the US government after the US and Mexico divided the tribe, is now an occupied land. Border patrols and Immigration and Naturalization Service agents roam the reservation’s lands and block the roads on the reservation. Members of the tribe have been assaulted by government agents. And the Nation, itself, is divided. Tribal leaders receive benefits from a close relationship with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As evidence of their allegiance, they even gave $50,000 of tribal money to support an effort to keep an airbase in Arizona from being closed. And in the meanwhile, those members of the Tohono O’Odham tribe who oppose and resist the activities of the US Government on their tribal lands do not get support from leaders of the tribe.

These leaders have done little to change the culture of these oppressed people. As is the case among many who are oppressed survival habits lead to ill health and low education with high unemployment. Little is being done to address these issues in a way that would remove this tribe from their oppressed and demeaned status.

Jeannie and I are moving to Tucson one day, probably this year. She has talked about wanting to work with the Tohono O’Odham and I admire her for her passion and commitment. But I have a question that probably relates back to my experience in the Civil Rights Movement. During the early ‘60s I felt good about supporting civil rights and even taking to the streets for this cause. Later, it became clear that African Americans needed little of our direct involvement, while welcoming some of our support. Rather, what was needed, even from the beginning, was for us liberal (even radical) white folks to work in our own subculture to effect change. We did a lot of that, politically and socially. And even today the job is far from being done. We were seeking legislation and desegregation of schools – and more. And we got a lot of that. But very few of us effectively addressed our own oppression, the oppression of our own prejudices, biases and visceral responses to the diverse world around us.

It seems very important to me that those of us most privileged to be working with integral and developmental approaches need to focus our attention on our own issues in dealing with diversity without, but also dealing with the oppressive dynamics within. In addition to working to intervene within the system of the oppressed, it is as important to work with the oppression within our selves and our own communities. In the United States we have considerable evidence of the resurgence of the radical right, a mostly white movement. The center of attention in the media has shifted from the center of American politics to a contest between the radical right and the center. We privileged white folk have a lot of work cut out for us in our own communities. That is the important focus of our political work.

I suppose I have a lot to learn about integral politics. I have some wonderful reading to do with the recent publication of the Integral Review Special Issue on Integral Politics. I look forward to that exploration because I have some concerns about integral politics, even as expressed by thought and action leaders I respect. It seems to me that there is a conservative orientation to some of the things I have read. That orientation pushes back against my quasi liberal/radical politics of the last fifty years. It may be that my Green is showing or that I just don’t understand how more enlightened beings than I can take some of the political positions they do that on first blush sometimes seem to be amoral. Not immoral—amoral! And I have to own this confusion because it is grounded, at least in part, in my own internal dynamics. I have much to learn. If you resonate with any of what I have been saying, you may have much to learn, too.

Raul Quiñones Rosado has much to teach us.

[Quiñones] Rosado is the co-founder of ilé: Organizers for Consciousness-in-Action committed to community organizing and Latino leadership development. Currently he is the Director of c-Integral where he teaches, counsels and trains others in consciousness-in-action in Puerto Rico. As you can imagine, he is active politically and opposes US occupation of Puerto Rico.

His is the first thoroughly integral treatment addressing oppression that I have read. His work “has revolved around anti-oppression work through empowerment education, leadership development, community organizing and social action.” During this work in New York and in Puerto Rico, he managed to complete a PhD and his own transformative practice. These led him to ask the question, “What is the root cause of humanity’s current state of limited well-being and development?” His answer: oppression! His definition of oppression is “the system of differential power that privileges certain identity groups over, and at the expense of, others.” It negatively impacts each and every one of us. He goes on to say, “This relationship between institutional oppression and internalized superiority and inferiority, too, is central to what is addressed in this work.”

[Quiñones] Rosado turned to the integral perspective in his own going work with these issues. From this perspective he found it important to move beyond the root cause question, which he discovered to be incomplete and limited. This has led him on a personal quest for consciousness while not diverting him from his concern for “oppressed peoples around the world increasingly threatened by the forces of militarism, globalization and cultural imperialism, currently under the guise of anti-terrorism.” He is thereby committed to the development of new knowledge:

  • That is useful in disrupting the systemic forces in society that subjugate people everyday.
  • That is effective in creating processes that alleviate and transform the devastating effects of oppression in our lives.
  • That not only inspires much-needed hope, but also fosters in people a sense of personal and collective power to create life-enhancing alternatives for our communities and ourselves.
  • That actually provides people with methods and processes to develop our own local transformative leadership that shall, in turn, help us be self-determining co-creators of our circumstance as a community, as a people.
  • That contributes to the development of consciousness into an integral perspective, even if only for small groups of transformative leaders who might in turn influence institutional and cultural transformations. (xxi)

In the development of his work, [Quiñones] Rosado has drawn on two models to address the fragmentation that can be found in efforts to confront oppression. One is the integral approach of Ken Wilber, particularly, quadrants, lines of development, levels, states of consciousness, and “the self.” For all he relies principally on Wilber’s Integral Psychology. He values the integration of Spiral Dynamics into integral, although his reason is that it addresses the worldviews “line of development.” This is at variance with Don Beck’s view that worldview is not a line of development but a constellation of variables, particularly values or vMemes that are the product of the interactions of lines of development with life conditions. [Quiñones] Rosado has joined the integral perspective to the Lakota medicine wheel and the Four Worlds model that has been developed from it. The presentation of this model is too complex to address here, but I will provide some of the themes. Think of them as circles within circles and we begin with the inner circle. The First are the four capacities:

  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

These correspond to four aspects of potentiality and activity:

  • dominant thinking patterns
  • human relations
  • physical environment and the economy
  • cultural and spiritual life.

Further, the community one is a member of has four aspects:

  • political and administrative
  • social
  • economic and environmental
  • cultural and spiritual.

The wider world involves

  • the political and ideological environment
  • the social environment
  • the economic and ecological environment
  • the cultural environment.

These elements, and more, are the sphere of life in which our identities are formed and evolve. Our integral well-being involves

  • self-concept
  • self-esteem
  • self-image
  • self-love, all elements of our personal identity.

These elements arise within the social and cultural context of the collective. Social group identity is central for addressing oppression as well as in liberation and transformation. Our identity involves gender, class, race, nationality, sexuality, political affiliation, age and more. All relate to the model derived from integral and the Lakota medicine wheel.A consequence of using an integral lens to examine oppression and anti-oppression interventions is that we look at the individual and their context, as well as interiors and behaviors. Think of oppression as being an occurrence. As such, in applying the AQAL model it would be necessary to include the oppression within the individual and in their behaviors, as well as within the culture and the systems (institutions) that express or hold the capacity for oppression to exist in human systems. This is what [Quiñones] Rosado offers. The result is not only a call for social and political action, but for self-examination. As [Quiñones] Rosado notes, “the culture of imposition is internalized through internal representations (as images, sounds, sensations, even smells and tastes) associated with the various social group identities that are instilled and installed in both dominant and subordinated group members.” Thus, the call for learning and action involves attention to our selves as much as it involves working with collectives.

Political, social, psychological and spiritual acts of resistance by subordinated individuals are liberating to the extent they involve creative responses that move beyond mere unconscious reactions to oppression, or as in the case of dominant members, the adoption of behaviors, attitudes and trends established by the dominant elite.” [Quiñones] Rosado goes on to point out the activities that he and his colleagues have engaged in to address these issues. He pointed to the Integral Transformative Practice of Michael Murphy internal change and notes that personal change is promoted further by the conscious, deliberate interaction with other people in a collective struggle. This is one of the great contributions of [Quiñones] Rosado’s work. Aside from the many models that I think most interested in integral approaches to development and change will find highly useful (I have only highlighted a couple here), the challenge to move from an exclusive focus on self in development to self-in-context, self-in-action offers us a way of enhancing not only our own development but also that of the communities our social identities are related to. I hope we are going to see more of [Quiñones] Rosado’s explorations. His perspective is creative and refreshing. Most of all it challenges each of us to consider how we are engaging with our worlds in leader, follower, and other stakeholder roles.

Integral Leadership Review, March 2010

Also see review by Bonnitta Roy, INTEGRAL REVIEW June 2008 Vol. 4, No. 1.


Integral Review

by Bonnitta Roy

INTEGRAL REVIEW June 2008 Vol. 4, No. 1

Consciousness-in-Action: Toward an Integral Psychology of Liberation and Transformation. Raúl Quiñones Rosado. (2007). Ilé Publications, Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Raúl [Quiñones] Rosado’s new book succeeds on many levels. He makes an important contribution to integral studies; he describes new ways for understanding group and self identity; he opens new ways for transmuting the processes of fear, oppression and victim-hood into liberation and transformation; he creates a unique synthesis between the highly rational-analytic AQAL model and the native American medicine wheel; and he creates a processural system that overlays and resonates with both models. His writing style is personal and intimate. He allows the reader to feel into his own experiences of oppression, and his own journey toward liberation and transformation. But because [Quiñones] Rosado also has worked with various communities on such issues, he is able to put the personal in context with the group—a necessary ingredient of his work.

The main feature of [Quiñones] Rosado’s process model relies on the metaphor of a cyclone. After [Quiñones] Rosado identifies the various patterns of oppression with respect to each of the four AQAL quadrants, he shows us that these factors are not merely inter-related, but mutually inter-active and continually reinforcing the system of oppression. When visualized as a process, the system of oppression becomes a cyclone of oppression, “moving” inwards, causing continual contraction of self-identity. He describes two such levels of contraction: 1) the impact of cultural oppression on personal identity and 2) the psychosocial pattern of internalized inferiority. With these system models, [Quiñones] Rosado is able to demonstrate how the processes of oppression accumulate tremendous power on the personal, cultural and institutional levels and therefore are highly resistant to change. The systems of oppression, [Quiñones] Rosado is warning us, are active not static.

In the second part of his book, [Quiñones] Rosado puts consciousness in action. Again, overlaying the wisdom of the medicine wheel with the pluralistic methodology of the AQAL model, [Quiñones] Rosado identifies positive patterns called “spheres” of action and influence. [Quiñones] Rosado argues, if the direction of oppression is inward, toward contraction and stasis, the direction of consciousness is outward, toward liberation and transformation. With this process framework, [Quiñones] Rosado is able to explain the possibility of fighting “fire with fire”, as it were, by activating the positive, outward momentum of conscious liberation. This momentum requires participation at the same levels that feed the cycle of oppression – and so the active response is multi-layered, multi-leveled, multi-perspectival, and integral.

Consciousness-in-Action is a useful and purposeful manual for people interested in social activism at any level. It is also a wonderful personal narrative, giving us an insight into a caring, thoughtful, and hard-working integrated person. Finally, it is a great example for how integral writers can expand the existing models into process versions, into infinite riches of discourse.

Also see review by Russ Volckmann, Publisher and Editor, Integral Leadership Review, March 2010.