What is Processwork?
Processwork is awareness based. Its methods allow us to perceive the creative nature of processes, even within apparently very disturbing and complex situations.
Processwork is a dynamic orientation and method of working with the challenges of your inner life and outer life events. Its methods are also useful for facilitating organisations and communities dealing with conflict, recovery and social change.
Arnold Mindell, the originator of Processwork was first physicist, then Jungian psychologist. He developed a comprehensive approach to facilitate awareness of the processes emerging in us, as they signaled through our dreams, symptoms, and unintended communication. He went on to facilitate interactions in relationship, communities and societies dealing with conflict and our legacy of violence throughout history. Time and again, by way of bringing awareness along into the processes moving us, people have surprising insight, understanding and the ability to find pathways forward in even the most difficult situations.
Processwork makes essential contributions to psychotherapy including working with life challenges, personal creativity and working with extreme states associated with mental health difficulties.
Processwork is also applied to working with dreams, body experience and illness, including remote states of consciousness.
Processwork makes a vital contribution to awareness or ‘mindfulness’ practice and links inner work and social action.
Its methods are used for conflict resolution and post-conflict community recovery, diversity awareness, organisational and social movements.
Processwork also has applications to theatre, music and the arts.
At its heart the notion of ‘deep democracy’ has to do with the potential of our relationships and community. It refers to the relationship between all parts of our experience. By bringing awareness into the interaction of all parts, a difficult situation can transform and evolve.
Most of us tend to perceive situations as static, though we are dealing with processes that have the potential for change. Processes are mercurial and potentially creative. Interventions based on communication and system awareness enable us to unfold a process according to its innate direction and feedback.
Disturbances hold a seed
Processwork trains our awareness to notice what is unintentional, surprising or disturbing to our identities as individuals, groups or organisations. At the edge of our identity, the disturbance holds the seeds for an emerging pattern, or change of awareness.
Dimensions of experience
Focusing on our ‘objective’ or consensus-based reality is essential. Yet, to fully engage with our own life experiences, and our relationships in community and society, we need awareness of how we are moved by the subjective or dreaming dimension and the ‘sentient’ dimension or experience of unity underlying our differences.
Power and marginalisation
Lack of awareness of dynamics of privilege and power is a key factor in perpetuating conflict. Becoming aware of these rank dynamics and what is central and what is marginal, can make all the difference when facilitating conflicts.
Levels of interaction
A process can be worked with at different levels of interaction. Sometimes you may focus internally, discovering how a process arises inside of you as an individual (intra-psychic). At other moments you will look at how it occurs between two or more people (relationship or inter-personal) or among us in an organisation, community and society.