Process Work is a framework for working with change and conflict. An off-shoot of Jungian analytic psychotherapy, Process Work was originally developed by Jungian author and analyst Arnold Mindell as a therapeutic modality. Over the last thirty years of application and research, Process Work is now more commonly described as an “awareness practice,” as its methods are applied in a wide range of situations, as a form of inner work or self-therapy, as a facilitation method for group work, conflict situations, and large public forums, as a therapy method for individuals, couples, and families, and as a method for working with comatose and remote states of consciousness. Process Work methods have been also been applied to other mental health issues such as addictions, depression, anxiety and panic disorders, working with chronic symptoms, death and dying, grieving and loss.
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Process Work was founded by Arnold Mindell, then a Jungian analyst, in the late 1970’s. It has its origin in Mindell’s observation that nighttime dreams both mirrored and were mirrored in his clients’ somatic experiences, particularly physical symptoms. He generalized the term “dreaming” to include any aspect of experience that, while possibly differing from consensus views of reality, was coherent with a person’s dreams, fantasies, and somatic experience, as well as the unintentional but meaningful signals that form the background to interpersonal relationships.
Mindell’s training in physics encouraged him to view the unconscious phenomenologically as well as symbolically, leading him to apply information theory concepts to the observation of his clients’ behavior. In this light, the concept of the ‘unconscious’ expanded to include a whole range of unintentional verbal and non-verbal signals, on the one hand, and of perceptions, beliefs and ideas with which the individual does not identify, on the other.
In order to help his clients integrate these forms of unconscious material, Mindell expanded upon the Jungian techniques of “amplification” such as active imagination and dream interpretation, by adding methods for working directly with nonverbal, body-level experience.
Building upon patterns of awareness found in sources ranging from Taoism and shamanism through modern physics, Mindell developed a framework for encouraging clients to identify with unconscious experience through a process he called ‘unfolding’. This unfolding process is a deconstruction of the client’s named experiences that relies not only on verbal material and imagery but also on movement, deep somatic experience, interpersonal relationship, and social context.
In the early 1980’s together with his process work colleagues, Mindell began to apply the conceptual framework he had been using with individuals, couples and families, to facilitation of conflict resolution in large groups. He coined the term “Worldwork” to describe this new discipline.
In the late 1990’s Mindell turned once again to his earlier interest in physics and began to explore a framework for understanding the common root of human experience that gives rise to psychology, on the one hand, and quantum and relativistic physics on the other.
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Processoriented psychology is in Slovakia an accredited therapeutic modality, the seminars are lead under the patronage of the Slovak psychotherapeutic society. Several graduates of the 3 years POP training are accredited psychotherapists and some of them own also the European certificate for psychotherapy granted by the European psychotherapy society.
Moreover the Department of psychology of the Philosophical faculty, Comenius university in Bratislava offers an optional course about the basics of processoriented psychology.
Ivan Verny, MD. and Miro Roth, Dipl. Ing., Swiss therapists of Slovak origin brought processoriented psychology to Slovakia in winter 1990, when they presented at the Philosophical Faculty of Comenius University in Bratislava their first workshop. They led during 2 years about 10 weekend workshops, even in Czech republic.
Also other teachers starded to visit Slovakia (e.g. Ursi Jean, Sebastian Elsesser, Salome Schwartz, Adam Zwig) and in october 1994 was Slovakia honoured to host the international seminar "Worldwork 1994: Europe in the Fire of Change“, which took place in Stupava near Bratislava and had above 200 participants from almost 30 countries.
This event played an important role in further development of POP in Slovakia. Till then were organized only veekend "tasting" seminars, but people concerned needed more. Therefore in 1995 started the first official 3 years training in POP accredited by the Slovak psychotherapeutic society nad organized by POPI-Slovakia. The training, which had 39 participants (7 from Czech republic) was lead by Dr. Ivan Verny, Dr. Jean-Claude Audergon, Arlene Audergon a Dr. Lane Arye.
The sustainment and development of Processwork in this region was possible thanks to enthusiasm and work of Anton Heretik and his team (Anty H. Heretik, Mária Andrášiová, Zlata Šramová, Sylvia Ondrisová, Pavel Vohlídka,...).
On sustainment of professional standard of seminars, international accreditation and further development work currently Andrej Jelenik, Sylvia Ondrisova, Boris Sopko, Sarah Kašáková and Brigita Trimajová.
Teachers that visit Slovakia most often are Ivan Verny, Alexandra Vassiliou, Lena Aslanidou and Reini Hauser.
On the introductory homepage is a picture of the trickster Heyoka, which rides on the horse backwards in the stories of Native American people instead of riding forwards as everybody. Also processwork works backwards- it notices and appreciates unusual and marginalized aspects, which we have tendency to ignore and sees them as potential sources of meaningful experiences and solutions to our problems.
Process Work is based on the simple, yet profound premise that the fluid transfer of information and experience between subjective, imaginative states of mind and our ‘everyday,’ objective, rational mind is critical for our psychological and physical well-being. Research into consciousness, health, creativity, and psychology increasingly supports this idea that the mind is much more than our everyday rational intelligence. The power of emotions, feelings, fantasies, dreams, and other so-called non-linear or non-rational states of consciousness play a key role in our physical health, emotional stability, and psychological well-being.
Arnold Mindell, founder of Process Work, describes consciousness as a spotlight that shines on some things, and leaves other things unnoticed. The mind selectively focuses on certain experiences, and marginalizes others, creating ongoing identity conflicts. What we call ‘awareness’ or consciousness is in fact a very narrow slice of our total attention. For this reason, Process Work proposes that we pay special attention to the less-known, disavowed or troublesome aspects of our awareness, especially those that conflict with our sense of identity. Through an attitude of embracing problems as valuable, and a precise, signal-based, awareness technique, the Process Work practitioner investigates and unfolds problems, as vital aspects of our wholeness, allowing us to connect more creatively with their potential and inherent power. Thus, following the teleological paradigm of C.G. Jung, Process Work views problems as attempted solutions, symbols of possibility, rather than only products of the past.
Living all aspects of our wholeness may bring us into conflict with our belief systems and the culture in which we live, and we may lack the skills needed to negotiate a way to live out these parts of ourselves in such contexts. This difficulty is characterized as an ‘edge’ because it represents a boundary to our personal identities. Process Work methods work to increase our sense of wholeness, and ameliorate the symptoms associated with the identify conflict that everyday consciousness predicts. It conveys an attitude that problems are valuable, seeds of potential and possibility. An important goal of Process Work is to help the individual explore such apparent limits and ways to live their expanded identity.
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