Who We Are
Arnold Mindell and colleagues working in Switzerland and at the Jung Institute in the 1970’s realized that body symptoms reveal important information about who we are, just as nighttime dreams reveal important information. The first book published on Processwork was in 1982 and called “The Dreambody: The Bodies Role in Revealing The Self”. Dr. Mindell and colleagues began to develop a paradigm that listened carefully to the various ways people communicate and need to be listened to.
Over the last 40+ years process workers have learned to listen with “deep democracy” to all levels of experience including the objective rational levels, the non-measurable subjective levels, and the deepest inexpressible levels. These levels communicate through what we call “channels of experience” — through dreams, body symptoms, movements, unintentional sounds or words, moods, synchronicities, group and relationship behavior, addictive tendencies, extreme behaviors, and more.
There are 27 schools in different cities of the world that teach Processwork and process-oriented psychology. There are many different types of specialists using process-oriented methods including psychotherapists, conflict facilitators,
The Process Work Institute values feedback and learning, perhaps more than anything else. Therefore, we asked our current students for their views of who we are and what we teach. Here are six statements from students that represent our essential viewpoints:
“Process work believes in conflict. Conflict is natural in many ways. The biggest thing I have learned is conflict is normal and I can’t have peace all the time, or it makes things worse. Not that we want conflict all the time, but it is inevitable so why not learn to use it and get through it. The training is quite rigorous in this way, that it breaks down steps of conflict and teaches me how to get through each step”
“I have learned there are different kinds of power. Besides social power there are other really important types of power. For me I call it my deep river power which is my personal spiritual power I have learned I have. I am learning how to recognize social rank and other types of rank, but also other kinds of power like the wisdom of an elder”
“I have learned my sensitive emotions are as strong and important as my so called “strong” emotions. Letting myself and others have emotions and being able to process them and not just avoid or repress is a huge learning”.
“The hardest skill to learn is to talk about “what is happening in the moment” with the group- what is actually happening between us. Rather than a high powered intervention that overrides people’s actual experience, talking about what is actually happening for people including boredom, anxiety — if we address these things it really helps”
“I came from my country mainly to study more psychology, but ended up realizing I have always believed psychological problems to relate to world problems, this was a big relief to think this way as we tend to blame people for their individual problems but that just isn’t scientific enough”
“Process language is hard to learn. It can be read in many ways, from communication signals, dreams, body movements. But if you put all these signals together you can begin to understand people and groups, and making people feel understood and deeply listened to by listening to them in a diversity of ways, is what makes me most excited in life”