Cultural archetypes pre-determine how members of a culture perceive their world and react to it. Every element of a culture has an archetype; how the members of a culture interpret that archetype is called a code. The cultural archetype and its code can be thought of as a lock and the combination to open it. One must have all of the right numbers in the proper order (the code) to open the lock (the archetype). Since archetypes and their codes are unconscious, a three-phase process to decode them is needed.
Each phase consists of imprinting sessions and team analysis sessions. Each imprinting session is a three-hour process that helps participants to remember their imprinting of the subject being studied. Approximately 20-25 respondents are recruited for each imprinting session. These people are chosen based on the culture being studied. For example, if an American archetype is being studied, the 250 people would be at least, second-generation Americans, who spent the first 15 years of their lives in the United States and whose mother or primary caregiver spoke American English. Other screening criteria are applied based on the archetype being studied. If an American archetype is being studied, the sessions are conducted in various cities across the United States.
During the first hour of the imprinting session, participants discuss their ideas and feelings about the topic. In the second hour, free association and storytelling exercises are used to learn about the unconscious dimensions, or latent structures of the topic. In the last hour, relaxation techniques are used to help participants remember their imprinting experiences.
The information from the imprinting sessions is analyzed for structure rather than content. In the structural analysis, the elements are not studied; but rather, the forces that bind the different elements together are carefully examined. The structure transcends the individual experiences and uncovers the cultural code.
The Archetype team participates in the process as active members not as observers. Clients are part of the research process. Results aren't generated by feeding quantitative data into a "black box"; results are discovered through participating team members and are directly embedded in the culture - moving clients from understanding to action.