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LP Ethics and Standards of Practice

Hello Everyone!

Here is a working copy on what I's rough, but I am taking Ben's advice and putting it "out there" for suggestions and support. Thanks in advance!


Lightning Path Ethics and Standards

Lightning Path is a Psycho-Social-Spiritual Teaching-Training (PSST) program that is dedicated to understanding what it means to be an authentic human, and encouraging development in that regard. The Lightning Path program challenges us to think and reflect on what are the necessary tools that are needed in order to become your true and authentic self. The research and workbook training series are designed to get you to see how our past, current, and future needs either contribute or not contribute to our personal functioning well-being and the functioning and well-being of our communities. The Lightning Path program is not a therapy, but rather an intellectual, psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual framework developed by Michael Sosteric and Gina Ratkovic, and based on personal and professional experiences as developing humans, educators, counsellors, and research scientists. Lightning Path is a choice. However you choose to take our information and apply it to your own life, is entirely up to you. However, if you are to truly to be on the Lightning Path, you will need to consider our ethical and practice standards if you are to truly be on the Lightning Path Way.

Lightning Path takes ethics and standards very serious. If we are to truly and authentically going to help individuals meaningfully and effectively, it is imperative that ethical practices and standards are practised. Lightning Path (LP) takes the responsibilities and accountability to those who seek the LP’s guidance for their own growth and development very serious. Likewise, those who choose to incorporate LP teachings and methods into their own lives, and or become accredited as an LP Life Coach Mentor, must agree to the Ethics and Standards outlined below.

This guide is mostly directed to those professionals, and or lay persons who are choosing to walk and talk the LP Way, and or are wanting to enhance their professional and or direct or indirect relationship experiences when guiding or working with others using the LP teachings. LP sees and demands that those who are practising and or advising in any capacity when discussing, sharing, or mentoring LP’s teachings, to adhere to the highest ethical standards. If you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Michael Sosteric or Gina Ratkovic for our guidance.

Why Ethics?

LP is a system of human development that incorporates the psychological, sociological, and spiritual understandings of what it means to be human. LP believes that to be human requires one’s ability to work towards complete balance in the physical, mental, emotional/psychological, and spiritual realms. LP believes strongly that you cannot be proficient in one area while neglecting another. Despite all your higher learnings, or life experiences, if you are not striving to be whole & practising to be authentic, then the LP cannot assist you. However, if you are committed to the work, that is to become your authentic self, then LP can work, and will continue to work and grow with you. What the LP means, is that we, and be we mean all of us, need to assess, reflect, and adapt, learn or re-learn, on an ongoing basis of what it means to be human in this moment. What is working and what isn’t? How can we authentically heal ourselves and others? What is effective vs. What is not...If this sounds ostentatious, arrogant, or in some other distrusting way, then you are definitely not ready to be on the LP. Our advice is, go back to your other trusted vices and keep learning. Come back when you are ready.

For the rest of you, LP recognizes the wealth of knowledge and experiential and evidence based practices of many systems of what it means to be us – human. We also recognize when working to heal one’s self or others, that there is a lot of misguided teachings. That is why LP differs and demands that being effective means being mindful and conscious to one’s best or highest abilities. Healing requires constant reflection and constant conscious application. You can’t resign yourself to being aware and knowledgeable if you are not constantly working on all your relationships experiences in this time and moment. If you are going to try to convince us otherwise, move on. Likewise, if you are here to find answers to what it means to be an authentic human, you will need to reflect on whatever it is you have been doing in order to justify your thoughts an feelings. In order to authentically heal and help others, LP requires you to become an active agent of consciousness change. What this means is that you will need to always be mindful and professional. If these words make you feel uncomfortable, then good. Because you are either going to adopt and trust the LP Way or choose to not trust and believe in the LP Way. If you choose to trust, you will need to consider all aspects of your thoughts, feelings, and choices. If you are not prepared to do so, which is okay, we suggest you move on and come back when you are ready to do the work. LP knows that trust is a process, and if LP is going to be authentic, we need to create emotionally safe places to grow and learn. If you are learning to trust the LP Way but feel some kind of trepidation, it’s okay. Keep pushing through your resistance. We promise, it will get easier as you grow and heal. LP doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but the goal of the LP is to ensure that we all commit and hold one another accountable as we work on our understandings of what it means to be an authentic human. The more of us who choose to grow and heal, will only make it easier to support all of us who are working hard to becoming our authentic selves.

In order to truly be on the LP Way, there are important, non negotiable practices that you must commit to. That is, to be effective and aware requires, if you choose the LP Way, a commitment to your own growth experiences, and the commitment to address your own personal challenges, and to commit to always being accountable. If this is what you choose, then we welcome you.

The following are LP ethical standards and guidelines

Non Violence

LP sees committing to the LP Way as adopting a way of life that works towards no violence. LP sees violence as what is normalized traditionally i.e. when we behave emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually, violent towards one’s own self or to others. Violence, whether conscious or unconscious, and/or whether you justify violence in order to validate one’s own actions or the actions of the group we subscribe to, as being normal and justified, can not exist period. Let us be clear here, there is absolutely no justification for any forms of violence whether it is intellectual, emotional, verbal, hierarchical, classicist, racist, sexist, educationally, or geographical... etc. Violence prevents all forms of growth period.

LP sees the normalization of violence in competition, standardization, accreditation, dominant intellectual discourse etc., that contributes to the justification in order to oppress others whether it is economically, socio-politically, and or by gender, sexuality, race, religion etc., This adaptation and adopting normalized violence is a direct threat to authentic well being. Being on the LP means becoming aware of all the overt and covert violent nuances direct or indirect that contributes to any forms of oppression or suppression and or violent acts towards one’s own needs and or the needs of others. That is why it is imperative to commit to non-violence as this is a direct assault against humanity and prevents our abilities to be and live out our true authentic selves.

When choosing to be on the LP Way, you commit to working towards no violence.


Boundaries refer to what you need to do and model when working with others. How you practice boundaries will determine the level of wellness you understand, and or working towards understanding. A boundary is what you need physically, emotionally/psychologically, intellectually and spiritually in order to protect yourself from others who are consciously aware or consciously unaware of their impact on you. If you have a hard time asserting your thoughts and feelings authentically, chances are you have boundary issues. Likewise, if you are unaware of your toxic boundaries, despite thinking you are effective, you will only damage yourself and the vulnerable persons whom look up to you for their growth and guidance. If you are practising healthy boundaries, you should be experiencing healthy relationship experiences, high self worth and esteem, feelings of trust and autonomy, mastery, purpose, and authentic contentment in almost 100% of your lived life. If you are not, you need to examine your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual boundaries. Again, if you have done your LP work, you will know that boundary work is something we all need to do!

Please note, if you do not practice healthy boundaries, you will never be on the LP authentically. Why? Because LP takes it’s teaching serious. And because we are dedicated to our system of human and spiritual growth and development, it is imperative that healthy boundaries are being practised at all times. In order to be designated as a LP Life Coach Mentor, besides intellectual growth i.e. being able to soundly and accurately demonstrate your understanding, practice and dedication to the LP Way, you will also need to model the LP Way. Modelling is the act in how you choose to share and experience your understanding of self and others that models continuous reflection, continuous growth, and healthy physical, mental emotional, and spiritual interactions with others. An authentic LP Life Coach Mentor, will know when they need help, know how to ask for help, and how to grow from the experience.

We ask you to consider the following dynamics that are common in growth and development.

Self Honestly / Self Representation

- Being able to express and share one’s own limitations without any self esteem or shame

- Not making any excuses for the way you choose to live your life **that doesn’t mean you can be a selfish, insensitive, boob.

- Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses

- If you are in a position of power and authority, you need to adhere to your professional codes of conduct and healthy practices.



Dual Relationships

LP sees this system of authentic human growth and spiritual development as a right, thus all of LP teachings are designed to be open source i.e. the teachings we research, reflect and share, are designed to be accessible, digestible, and always rooted in best practices. And because LP sees this system of authentic human growth and development as a right or entitlement to all, LP is aware that there is a responsibility to point out issues pertaining to dual relationships.

What is a dual relationship? In a professional sense, that is when one person is deemed a master or teacher with whatever it is they know, do, or teach, and has a responsibility to the “other” who does not know, and who is there with you, because of primary or secondary relationship status dynamics or experiences. For example, you might be coaching a client, (relationship number 1), and that client lives in your community, and both your children are attending the same school and are in the same classroom, (relationship 2), and when you have to interact with this person outside of the therapeutic or teaching setting, you will always need to be mindful of your dual relationships. Why? Because you are in a position of power and authority, and it is your responsibility to maintain ethical standards because you are responsible for the other. You can take off your therapist/teacher/mentor “hat” but you need to mindful of your primary relationship status when incorporating LP teachings. You should always be aware of the relationships you choose to be involved in whether it is private or public. To be able to have healthy dual relationships, you must always be cognizant and practice healthy boundaries when in dual relationships. You shouldn’t be hanging out with your client unless you both have established your boundaries and expectations and possible intervention strategies to deal with private and privileged information. For more information, please refer to

When you think about it, a lot of our life relationship experiences are rooted in dual relationships. For example, a friend helping a friend experience. The notion of friend is usually a relationship that is not by any blood/familial relations, and instead is a chosen relationship because of common interests, companionship, shared growth, and positive life experiences. If your friend becomes a specialist in some area, and you seek out their advice or guidance because of their expertise in an area you need support in, you have just entered into a dual relationship. Likewise, when we choose to help our friend or ask our friend for help, we are doing so because of our emotional safety needs that have been established. If someone whom you rarely know asks you for help and you give it, you need to examine your intent and motivation, and your boundaries (or lack of boundaries). It’s okay to help out strangers, just be mindful of your intent and expectations of self. There is nothing wrong with getting a hit of the “feel goods” when doing something helpful for another. Just be certain that you are not neglecting your other relationship needs. Healthy human practice requires us to be honest with what we can or cannot do in all of our relationships.

Traditional professional and laypersons relationships are those relationships in where there is a clear or an assumed boundary between the “expert” and the “layperson”. There is a clear hierarchical imbalance between one person and the other. Please note, this can take place in formal settings such as government, educational, human supports etc., as well as informal such as parent and child relationships.

If you think of all the roles that you play right now in this moment, for example, son/daughter, wife/husband/partner, friend or acquaintance, expert vs. novice etc., what is your power in these relationships? And if you don’t have power, why not? If you are in a position of any kind or type of power, you must understand your role in dual relationships. Consciously knowing you have power in some way over another, requires you to live to the highest ethical standards in your dual relationships. Why? Because it’s the healthiest and honest thing to do. Too often, people like to convince themselves that they can manage dual relationships. For example, you might be a neighbor to another, and your neighbor is a very skilled person. Skilled at the thing you need support with or have an interest in for your own mental, emotional, physical or spiritual needs. If your neighbor with the skill or talent abuses their knowledge or expertise, and asserts direct or indirect power as a way to undermine you directly or indirectly, they have misused their dual relationship with you.

If you are paying attention to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual safety needs, you will not be able to tolerate negative effects of dual relationships i.e. guilt and shame issues, and or feelings of anxiety and distrust. Healthy dual relationships are those relationships in where both parties know and understand one another’s role and expectations, and that both parties feel safe to grow and learn in. You should be able to assert feelings without any judgment or condemnation. Likewise, if you are asserting your emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual needs, you must do so in the healthiest manner. Being triggered, confused, or conflicted, does not give you the right to assault directly or indirectly against another person. Remember, you can assert, but you have no right to assault!

The point is, you can’t have it both ways i.e. you can’t be a teacher/mentor to a student/offspring/friend part-time. In other words, you can be supportive and healthily attached or committed to another person, but as long as there are clear and healthy boundaries in the relationship experience. There can never be mixed messages, or enmeshment, triangulation or any other kind of unhealthy relationship dynamic. The only way a dual relationship can progress to a healthier developmentally different kind of relationship, is when both parties can ethically, intellectually, emotionally, and psychologcially agree that they are cognizantly aware of the implications of the growing and changing the relationship status, which means it – the relationship can never go back to the old relationship dynamic. Both parties agree that they now become equals, and as equals, their relationship needs, dynamics, expectations, obligations, responsibility, accountability and so on and so on, change forever. In order to be successful and grow and heal and heal others, always requires a conscious effort and mindful dedication to the roles and responsibilities to one’s self and to other’s.

Hi Gina - thank you for posting this. I am trying to soak through it; there is a lot here for me to read and try to understand.

The first thing I noticed that came to mind is your use of the phrase "authentic human".  How would you define what it means to be an authentic human vs. an inauthentic human?

I will post some thoughts as I continue to read May the people of this world be free.

In a nutshell, an authentic human is someone who does not misrepresent themselves, is honest about who they are, the issues that they are struggling with, and is committed to understanding their highest truths whatever that is - as long as they do not impose, violate, oppress, manipulate, justify any form of violence towards another.


Gina - if i understand correctly, the ethical guidelines above are for both a casual student of the LP, as well as someone who is trying to use the LP in some sort of counselling or mentoring capacity.  is this correct?

#1) should there be the same set of ethics associated with both situations?? (this is just me thinking out loud) but i am wondering: should there be more stringent ethics associated with mentorship than student use?

#2) i am making another thread about my questions re: LP mentorship

#3) would it be possible to create a bullet point summary of the LP ethics

#4) would it be possible to create a quick google form's "quiz" relating to LP ethics? it is easily put together. but i was thinking it could be like a little "test" to verify that somebody actually understands the ethical statement. passing the "test" could be considered a prerequisite for either engaging with (?) or at least mentoring on, the LP May the people of this world be free.

Hi Ben

I think educating anyone who is choosing to incorporate aspects of LP and/or who adopts our philosophies and ideologies whether formally or informally,  both situations need to be mindful in all contexts of ethical considerations. Hence my expression of learning or being authentic - authentic means being honest, accountable, responsible, mindful etc. I think some of the issues that plague any kind of human potential paradigms/practices fail because there is not much emphasis on the ethical implications that could arise. In counselling, we are trained and drilled into our heads about the issues of dual relationships (I, Gina a counsellor, wears multiple hats, when I have counselled someone in a therapeutic setting, I will always remain a counsellor. If a client and I choose to change our relationship, I have to document, justify and be prepared for any negative repercussions if the relationship was to fall apart. So in practice, I don't become friends with my clients. Likewise, when I have counselled clients and or have taught a student, I have to be mindful if the roles if the relationship changes e.g. a student becomes a client or vice a versa. And once again, I have to document and justify.

I like the idea of point form as long as we break the ethical themes down. I am very wordy, and am aware that I can sometimes go on and on and on...

I think have students write a short essay about spiritual scenarios is a great way to assess whether someone is getting the LP ethics and expectations. In psychology, we use logic models e.g.

  1. Problem/2. Possible Decisions/3. Pro's vs. Con's of possibilities/ 4. What have I learned?/5. What do I choose to do?

I like the reflective nature of logic models. I also like that a person has a choice, and as long as they are being accountable and demonstrating that in their thought and emotional processes, it allows for more than 1 right answer or subjectivity.


This is so needful in spirituality and counseling, thank you, Gina!

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