Process Work, developed by Dr. Arnold Mindell, is a rich and varied way of perceiving the world, people, and groups. It is a methodology of working with individuals, couples, families, groups, communities and organizations. It is an awareness practice that helps us to notice and follow what is happening. It is a way of flowing with and learning from change. My friend, Joe Goodbread, used to say that PW is a way of turning tsuris into nachas. (That’s Yiddish for turning troubles into joys.)
This page highlights some of the basic ideas that I love about PW. There are some short videos of me explaining them. I hope you enjoy it!
EMBRACES WHAT IS
PW embraces what is, instead of thinking that something else should be happening. Of course it can be hard to trust what is happening, especially if it contributes to our suffering or goes against our plans. But in Process Work we find that beauty, richness, and meaning (as well as solutions, inspiration, and creativity) can come out of unfolding what is. This idea has its roots in the ancient Chinese concept of the Tao, as well as the teachings of C.G. Jung.
Check out this fun video intro to Process Work:
LIFE IS NOT ONLY CAUSAL AND PATHOLOGICAL
You might think, “But I want to find out what caused my problem and get rid of it!” Great idea! Seeing something as pathological and trying to get rid of the cause of the problem is the basis of Western Medicine and many wonderful advances in science. Sometimes, though, causal thinking does not help us, and may even contribute to our difficulties. Aristotle can help us here with a more differentiated view of causality.
VIDEO: ARTISTOTLE’S FOUR CAUSES
Body symptoms, disturbing emotions or thoughts, relationship conflicts, creative blocks, organizational difficulties, and world issues are not only pathological problems that need to be fixed. They are also experiences that lead us toward wholeness. In fact, we could look at all these problems, and really all aspects of life, as invitations to wholeness. Process Work helps us get in touch with the background flow that connects the seemingly separate parts of our lives.
LEVELS OF REALITY
In any moment, we can notice different levels of reality. If someone is afraid of public speaking we could measure her elevated heart rate and rapid breathing. These are aspects of what we could call consensus reality, the part of reality we can all observe, measure, and objectively agree on.
That person may have a very different inner experience. She may feel far removed from her audience, like she’s getting smaller and smaller, or vibrating inside and floating above the ground. These subjective experiences can’t be observed or measured from the outside. This level of reality is dream-like and is filled with polarizations and archetypal conflicts.
If she unfolded these dream-like experiences, the person might have the sense of disappearing altogether, being one with the vibration of the universe. Here there is no difference between speaker and audience, no fears to be mastered, no polarization. This non-dual experience of oneness we could call the essence level of reality.
Process Work values and works with all these aspects of reality.
If you’d like to read a more about Process Work, including an explanation of process theory and terms like “primary process,” “secondary process,” “channels,” and “edges,” here is a link to a chapter in my book.
And finally, please take a moment to watch this beautiful brief video made by my friends at The Institute for Process Work (Institut für Prozessarbeit IPA) in Zürich. It’s called, “Why Process Work?