Process Work

If you’ve never heard about Process Work, I wrote the most basic and simple explanation, that I could come up with. The basic question is: what is this “process” thing?

I will be gradually adding more in-depth descriptions of some specific PW concepts. Also, check out my blog, where more free-form stories illustrate PW’s spirit and application.

The Process

The process is what happens, what is in the movement (literally and figuratively), what is changing, what is alive, what flows. We can call it the current of life, the tao, the natural unfolding of things. Paradoxically, the flow of life also includes pause, stagnation, stillness and death. Look at the natural world, these are all parts of it too. Nature comes in cycles, there is a time of light and thriving life and there is a time of darkness and decay. This also relates to our psyche, however, we have a tendency to prefer one over the other. Such preference often hinders what “wants” and “needs” to happen.

Process oriented psychology strives to facilitate the unfolding of this inner process, through the unveiling of what is being blocked and what blocks the process.

When the process is being blocked, it tries to “push through” in different ways. People experience this often as “problems”. We thus see problems (psychological, physical, relational) as message carriers, which need to be listened to. By doing so, we promote change, growth, and deep understanding of one’s life.

The practice

Another way to simply put process work is that it help to see where change is needed and what blocks it. Change might mean literal life changes or (but often and) inner changes – new attitude, opening up to new ways of being, behaving, relating with the inner and outer worlds. There’s no norm, no pattern of what is “normal”, each individual has their own path in life and process work respects that.

How do we do it?

Process workers have a vast array of tools. We work with dreams, body symptoms, relationship stories – basically anything that seems important, significant, emotion-evoking for the client. Anything that is seen as problematic usually turns out to be a great resource of information what kind of change is needed. We use a lot of role-play, active imagination, drawing, movement but also, just simply conversation. Compared to other schools of psychotherapy, you as a client might be asked to get up from your chair with quite a high probability. Or at least get in touch with your body. There’s also room for more subtle experiences and fleeting sensations which may lead into deeper and more spiritual inner realms.