Character Adaptation Systems Theory

A New Big Five that Bridges Personality and Psychotherapy

Character Adaptation Systems Theory (CAST) is the fifth key idea in the UTOK. It offers a "new big five" for personality and psychotherapy in the form of five systems of adaptation as follows: 1) the habit system; 2) the experiential system; 3) the relationship system; 4) the defensive system; and 5) the justification system. It also identifies three "contextual lines" for adaptation: 1) bio-physiology; 2) learning and developmental; and 3) sociocultural. The frame connects the unified theory to psychotherapy integration by showing that the major individual paradigms (behavioral, experiential, dynamic, and cognitive) focus primarily on specific modes of adaptation. CAST provides a way to integrate across the modes via a comprehensive model. It also connects to Dan McAdam's "new big five" for personality, by providing a new way to organize characteristic adaptations via the five systems.

Here is a longer video linking CAST with the Wheel of Development to "understand the building blocks of you". Here and here are academic papers on CAST. Here is a book chapter in 2011 that shows its historical development in the context of the emerging "unified approach" to psychotherapy. Below are some TOK essays on CAST and various aspects of the systems.