What Is Processwork?
Continually evolving as a theory and a practice, Processwork was originally developed as a therapeutic modality in the 1970’s and 80’s by Jungian analyst, physicist, and author Dr. Arnold Mindell. Today, it is most commonly described as an “awareness practice,” and has applications in individual psychotherapy, coaching and leadership development, organizational work, medicine, politics, and art.
Processwork rests on the following six ideas:
1. Growth and learning happen at the edges of awareness and identity
2. Seemingly bad things can sometimes be the best things
3. Harmony needs dissonance
4. Reality is multi-dimensional
5. Power is your friend
6. You don’t have to know anything to dream
Interest piqued? Click here to delve into each idea more deeply.
How Is Processwork Different?
Processwork is not conventional. It’s not standard and it’s not always expected. Processwork takes an innovative approach to personal development and collective change, offering tools that are unique to say the least. Here’s a taste:
- Physical symptoms and illness: Explore physical symptoms and illness with a non-pathological attitude and an open mind, and you may uncover deep wisdom, emotional truth and surprising new directions for your life .
- Addictions and eating disorders: Reduce the need for harmful substances and behaviors by embracing forbidden and altered states of consciousness- a key to relapse prevention and sustainable recovery.
- Relationship Work: History, power, conflict, and communication are as important to understanding a couple as their highest dreams and lowest moods.
- Sex: Sex can be a meaningful expression of the creative unconscious mind - or “dreaming process” - and difficulties can re-direct us to a deeper, more authentic connection with our partners and ourselves.
- Extreme States: States like rage, paranoia, prolonged grief, mania, or depression are “extreme” relative to a cultural norm. While recognizing the biochemical basis of mental illness, these experiences can be creative and meaningful for the individual and society.
- Power and Oppression: When issues don’t resolve, it may be the result of social oppression over generations. It’s crucial that the therapist understand this, so as not to reproduce the harmful patterns while working through them.
- Creativity: This is not just an “artistic” thing, but a mindset, and a way of approaching problems. Use creativity to explore blocks, resistance, mistakes, and failures, and discover unexpected solutions.
- Inner Work: Provides a framework for self-help and personal empowerment. It’s DIY and free.
PROCESSWORK AS WORLDWORK
Worldwork is Processwork’s approach to addressing conflict and facilitating transformation in small and large groups. It supports dialogue, de-escalating conflict, increasing understanding, and building connections. Worldwork rests on the philosophy of Deep Democracy, which suggests that the inclusion of diversity - especially minority or marginalized perspectives and perceptions - leads to a better, wiser and more sustainable whole.
Worldwork methods have been successfully applied in hotspots around the world, with multicultural groups and with multi-stakeholder conflicts. It can be used in the classroom, the boardroom, in neighborhoods, and to facilitate public open forums and town hall meetings.
Thanks to my friends at Institute Processarbeit in Zurich for making this short film.