Process Work or Process Oriented Psychology is an approach to facilitating individuals, groups and organizations. Dr. Arnold Mindell, originally a physicist and Jungian psychologist, and always researcher at heart, developed methods of carefully following the twists and turns of nature – revealing the creative patterns that lie within apparently chaotic and disturbing events and symptoms.
All of us tend to identify with only a small part of who we are. Over the boundary of our awareness, new information arises, first as a disturbance – in dreams, body experiences, symptoms and conflicts. Similarly in organizations, relationships and daily work get disturbed by conflicts and surprising events. A natural tendency is to try to eliminate the disturbance. Process Work methods involve accurately exploring both our plans, and those elements of our experience that rub up against our plans, disturb or surprise us. The interaction of all parts and dimensions of experience, yield new ideas and directions forward – and a feeling of being involved with your life and others.
Deep democracy is the core value and principle of process oriented psychology. Processwork is deeply democratic toward all levels of experience: it values the freedom to explore and express consensus reality, dreamland and the essence levels. It understands all levels as equally important.
Every time you ignore sentient, that is, generally unrecognized dreamlike perceptions, something inside you goes into a mild form of shock because you have overlooked the spirit of life, your greatest potential power. Arnold Mindell, Dreaming While Awake.
Only when all aspects of an experience are unfolded with awareness does the wisdom embedded in the experience reveal itself most fully. Process work is based on the idea that processes contain their own inherent wisdom. Even the most intractable relationship problems or body experiences contain a great deal of meaning and wisdom, hidden within what otherwise might seem like intolerable events. In order to unfold the details of any particular experience, it is important to notice our everyday approach to experiences as well as the dreamlike or unknown background aspects of those events of which we are not quite aware. Amy Mindell (2008). Bringing deep democracy to life. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 6(3)