Equilintegration Theory

Inspired by Craig N. Shealy:

Making Sense of Beliefs and Values

Equilintegration (EI) Theory seeks to explain:

1. the processes by which beliefs,

values, and worldviews are acquired,


2. why their alteration is typically resisted, and

3. how and under what circumstances their modification occurs

EI theory draws connections between:

the many facets of who a person is,

how aiming to meet core needs are key driving factors, and

how input from their environment shapes

their system of beliefs and values, or worldview.

EI theory supports understanding why

interventions may have different impacts on different learners.


Each person comes to learning experiences with

a PARTICULAR SYSTEM of beliefs and values.  

Unawareness of learners that they have a worldview, through the lack of availability to CONTRASTING VIEWS, may prevent learners from being able to learn or change.

Through NOVEL EXPERIENCES, that are not consonant with their prior experiences, individuals may gain awareness of their own worldviews and those of others.


For true change in awareness to occur,

some sort of intervention may be necessary.

However, such interventions can DISTURB a sense of BALANCE the self has created

and therefore needs the support of REFLECTION and EMOTIONAL PROCESSING.



There is an unconscious

SCREENING PROCESS constantly at work in us.

It constantly tries to create balance between:

It is through reflection and interacting with new information that a person can become aware of that screening process.

our BELIEFS about the world & the INPUTS from the world.



Yet, this screening process is often uncomfortable

and can lead to disequilibrium - a sense that the world

does not make sense in the same way it did before.

Worldviews can be shifted

or opened to questioning through moments of disequilibrium.

Addressing the complexity of individual beliefs

can be the window towards PERSEPECTIVE CHANGE.


EI THEORY explains the interconnectedness of core needs and belief formation that can provide understandings of why learning or change is resisted at times, yet it does not create the transformation.

It is through Transformative Learning Experiences that we become aware of our worldview and develop our ability to think critically.

Transformative Learning (TL) is,

“the process of effecting change in a frame of reference”.