About Dr. Peters and Human Systems

Welcome, I’m glad you’re here!

I started Human Systems in 2016 because, as a passionate macro social worker, I had big ideas about how to eliminate burnout and unnecessary turnover in health and human services. When I went back to school in 2012 to get my PhD in social work, my intention was to find out why burnout and turnover were so high in human services, and how to stop it. My research led me to re-conceptualize leadership as positive action that happens on the individual, relational, and systems levels. This widened conception of leadership opens the leadership role to anybody who acts for change (as opposed to just the individuals at the top of an organizational chart), and also accounts for the complexity of how change happens in organizations and other systems (as opposed to simply focusing on the traditional leader-follower dynamic). 

While I was researching and writing my dissertation, I developed the concept of emotional competence: emotional intelligence + leadership. When I demonstrate emotional competence, I extract relevant information from my emotions to make effective and efficient changes in my life to meet my needs. I noticed that when I was teaching emotional competence in my workshops with social workers and other mental health professionals, they tended to struggle to find specific emotion words to describe their experience (so did I, for that matter). I searched for tools to help us identify our emotions and found the emotion wheel idea. I decided to create my own based on the available scientific research on how we make emotions (watch a YouTube video about the development process), and the HS Emotion Wheel III was born. When I discovered that we also had trouble identifying our needs, I developed the HS Needs Wheel II (watch a YouTube video about the development process). Later, I created the HS Body Sensations Identification Wheels System to help us develop self-awareness around the feelings in our body; this awareness is helpful for emotion identification and processing.

Like many others, the Covid pandemic forced me to search for additional mental health and wellbeing tools, and I found mindfulness, 12-step recovery, and Bikram yoga. I was struck by how well concepts from these three areas fit with my existing leadership research and saw an opportunity to expand my ideas for use in both personal life and professional organizations. From extensive research on mindfulness models, mindfulness practice in organizations, and my own recovery experience, I developed the HS Operating Principles and the HS Mindfulness Model. The HS Mindful Leadership|Mindful Growth (ML|MG) Model and Assessment Series is the result of the consolidation of my original leadership model, mindfulness research, all my HS Ideas (see menu item), and research on recovery and human wellbeing.

Today I am proud, humbled, delighted, and inspired to say that my ideas have touched many more people that I could have imagined when I first shared them. The stories I hear from collaborators and customers enable me to reaffirm my unique purpose every day: to create safe spaces for autonomy, humility, authentic connection, and play.

In addition to developing tools for and collaborating with others on systems health and human wellbeing, I have a deep mindful and spiritual practice (see my list of spiritual and mindful growth books); I am an artist and creative (see my Instagram account); and I am a wife and mother.

If you have any questions or have an idea for collaboration, please contact me.

Dr. S. Colby Peters, LCSW

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