Process Work

Process Work (or Process-oriented Psychology) is a new paradigm in psychotherapy focusing on understanding human experience and change, designed for working with the entire spectrum of human consciousness.

At its core, it is an awareness practice that emphasizes noticing the dream-like experiences happening in and around us, all day long – not just at night.  In very general terms, the practice of Process Work is understanding people’s process – that is, following the flow of experience as it occurs in oneself and in the world.

colorful painting of figures
Sleepwalker by Cindy Trawinski (2003) Tempera on Litho Paper, 20″ x 30″

Awareness in Practice

Process Work approaches the problems and struggles of life asking:

  • What potential solutions or wisdom are problems bringing?
  • How can working at the edge of awareness provide new & relevant information?
  • In times of conflict, how can we include all voices in us and around us?
  • What is our deepest nature?
  • What’s right about what’s happening?
  • How does our personal work and growth impact the world?

Developed by Arnold Mindell, this dynamic approach to the unity of mind, body, spirit and world, has its roots in Jungian psychology, physics, and Taoism. Process Work integrates dream work, body work, relationship work, meditation and large group work into a single theoretical framework.

Resources and Additional Information

Often, the way things unfold in life provides important information and even solutions to problems. In order to stay close to this unfolding, Process Work focuses on expanding personal awareness  to events that support the way we ordinarily think about or see ourselves and also paying close attention to things that are disturbing us — disavowed or marginalized parts of ourselves – which we usually try to avoid or get away from.

Process Work does not hold preconceived notions of what is right or wrong. It follows experiences rather than holding fast to any program or ideal.  Following the flow of process involves caring for the absurd and impossible and going against conventional beliefs and ways of seeing things.  It also involves going with the nature of the moment instead of a prescribed or pre-determined course of action.

As an awareness paradigm, Process Work can be applied to a wide range of human problems including everyday concerns, depression, anxiety, physical symptoms, addictions, relationship issues, extreme and altered states, group conflicts and social tensions.

Further Reading

Great general resource pages about Process Work, Arnold Mindell and other books on Process Work and Process-oriented Psychology applications:

The following books reflect the many ways that process work theory and methods have been studied and applied to a variety of human problems.

Especially good introductions to Process Work ideas, methods and applications can be found in the following:

A Path Made By Walking by Julie Diamond & Lee Spark Jones
Riding the Horse Backwards by Arnold Mindell
Working on Yourself Alone by Arnold Mindell

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