what is process work
and why is it important
Process work is a therapeutic modality.
More specifically, process work is a type of experiential therapy – meaning, therapy with an aim to experience – that guides my work.
Process work allows for the emergence of experience in the here & now – the most true, powerful, and authentic experience in the present moment.
Some may think of process work as a worldview. Stay with me. Process theory views reality as change, instead of unchanging reality.
Nothing is static. Change is the only true thing.
In Chinese philosophy, this is described as wu wei – acting without desire.
Without an end goal…
…a creative process that unfolds from moment to moment.
Being is becoming.
The end point is not known. In a process, the only thing that is known is what is being experienced, in the present, and the next step that wants to materialize.
Process work stems from process theory, which is a feminine & in-flow way of working. It is not directive, but rather expansive & deeply accepting.
We may have an intention to look at something. But then, in process work, like in any journey, we open to possibilities that we could not envision.
(Pssst!! … Do you see the human form taking shape in the smoke?)
Process work requires trust and surrender, with oodles of presence and awareness to follow the flow.
In a process, you do not act because you want to, but rather because it is the natural & clear choice. It naturally flows.
Experiences unfold with awareness.
You are always in process of becoming.
Process work never has a point of where it’s over.. it goes on (through eternity? through generations?).
Process work is movement toward goals that are in a constant act of evolution.
Change is the only constant. And via process work, this change can be an evolutionary transformation with careful intention and attention.
Process work is mystical. As process psychologist Arnold Mitchell said, “process oriented psychology tries to find the dao, or the spirit of the moment, and work with it.”
To process is to work with what is happening, what is becoming, what is alive, what is present.
In healing work, this means that we sniff out what is present, tease it out, and allow for the emergence of a new experience.
Like walking through the forests in the Pacific Northwest (a place I have spent a lot of time). On an inhale, the cedar enters the nose. The breath deepens. The body slows. The ears pick up the song of the sparrows. The eyes relax. The understanding of the self expands, to encompass the forest. “I” am a part of all of this. This is what matters. The experience becomes a sense of deep ease.
In process work, signals tell us what is present – they are little bits of information that we track & explore in process.
Signals can be word-based, body-based, movement-based, dream-based, and even more subtle signals from which bigger signals materialize …
We can process by ourselves, with a partner, or in a group.
Although this is simple, it is not easy.
How comfortable are you with releasing control over your healing? We think we can speed it up. Get there in a year.
Yet, we all have our own pace that feels good & right for us. We must lay aside the egoic sense of accomplishment in process work, and intend to open to what is.
When you enter into the flow of process, there is an expansive understanding of the interconnection of things, the wholeness, the oneness of the Mystery, or the field.
Everything becomes part of a unified experience.
A process experience frequently brings insightful ways of dealing with life’s situations that we may not have imagined from our ordinary states of mind.
So, I invite you take a breath with this way of perceiving healing work. It is not for everyone. In fact, it can be even challenging for some – especially those who have difficulties letting go, relaxing & trusting in the present moment. Some of us like to be told what to do by an “expert” – this work isn’t for that. Process work is for those wanting to feel empowered and enlivened by their own healing experience… those wanting to be awed by the wisdom that is already within them & the field.
This article is based on the work of Arny Mindell, David Bohm’s “On Dialogue,” Rupert Sheldrake’s morphogenetic fields, quantum physics, Thich Nhat Hanh’s inter-being, dynamic systems thinking, Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, Eastern philosophies like Daoism, and my own personal mystical experiences & healing work.