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What is Processwork?

Welcome to The Edge, a blog about Processwork in all its applications and manifestations.  As a practice and theory of human experience, those applications are unlimited and as varied as all the individuals and groups who make use of it.  I hope these posts, by Processworkers in different walks of life all over the world, will draw you in and inspire you to discover how Processwork can support growth, creativity and communication in your own life and work.

By Elva Redwood, Managing Editor, The Edge

History of Processwork

Processwork originally grew from Jungian psychology in the 1970s and 80s, when Arnold Mindell practiced at the Jung Institute in Zurich.  Dr. Mindell’s deep curiosity and work with people on body symptoms led him to broaden the dreamwork approach and explore different sensory channels.  Processwork was born as one of the first psychologies to integrate somatic experiences, and has since grown far beyond psychology in its scope.

The group of students drawn to study with Dr. Mindell became a dynamic community who helped him creatively; to teach, apply research, and elaborate on his theory and practice of Processwork.  The discipline continues to develop and is taught with the understanding that each Processworker will make it their own and contribute their own expertise and discoveries to the whole.  This original community has grown into a global association of practitioners and schools, both those without official Processwork credentials, and those with a Diploma in Processwork and affiliated with the International Association of Process Oriented Psychologists (IAPOP).

Influences on Processwork

Since its beginnings, Processwork has been shaped by many indigenous cultures’ wisdom, to which we all owe so much.  Most notably the Indigenous Australian knowledge of Dreamtime and the Chinese philosophy and practices of Taoism are fundamental to seeing the world through a Processwork lens.

Processwork Theory

The theory itself is elegant in its simplicity and application to any aspect of life.  As well as a tool for individual personal growth, Processwork’s model for identity and experience is equally useful for relationships and groups, both small and large, and any kind of conflict work.

Processwork understands human experience as a dreaming process which unfolds through sensory channels.  Our experiences are alive in Consensus (everyday) Reality as well as Dreamland – aspects of experience which are subjective and not necessarily agreed upon in a given culture.  At the deepest level, consciousness and reality spring from Essence, birthed and mediated by Process Mind, which is analogous to the ancient Chinese understanding of the Tao Which Cannot Be Said.


The simple channels of experience are visual, auditory, proprioceptive and movement.  Composite channels are made up of these simple ones and include relationship and world.  We are constantly receiving and emitting information in all these channels, though we are only aware of some of that information.

Primary and Secondary Processes

The information we are aware of and identify with comprises our “primary process,” the person or group we understand ourselves to be.  Information that we don’t identify with, which is often problematic in one or more channels, is connected to our “secondary process,” something outside our usual identity, which we are growing to become.


Between these primary and secondary processes is the phenomenon called the Edge.  It is our growing point, guarded by conscious and unconscious belief systems and contributing to misunderstandings and conflicts on all levels.

Attention to this dynamic of identity increases self-awareness, and therefore gives access to more choices of action.  Exploration and integration of secondary material leads to temporary resolution, eases difficulties, and opens a path to the next phase of growth.

Processwork is Useful Everywhere

Processworkers everywhere use this empowering paradigm to facilitate growth and creativity in uncounted spheres.  From individual psychology and inner work, relationships and families, Processwork has found rich applications in coaching, organizational development, and large-scale conflicts.  One of the most exciting applications for our troubled times is World Work, where hundreds of people meet to work on global issues. There are also dancers, painters, writers and musicians using Processwork in creating and performing their arts.  Teachers apply the theory in the classroom, and nurses use it in the OR.  Anywhere there are humans, Processwork can be useful.

To find out more from these individuals, please read on in The Edge.

If you’d like to explore deeper, visit the Processwork Institute Bookstore and public manuscripts pages, check out Arny and Amy Mindell’s website at, find a school or workshop near you at IAPOP, and take a class, or contact an individual practitioner.

Thank you for visiting us at The Edge!


by Elva Redwood, MA, PW Dipl., Managing Editor

Elva Wolf Redwood is a Processwork Diplomate practicing with individuals, couples and groups in Portland, Oregon, USA, and on-line.  She is a writer and a lover of dogs, fermented foods and knitting.  She is drawn particularly to work with artists, activists, culture changers and anyone addressing developmental trauma.


Treasure Hunting: Finding Meaning in Life with a Disability

by Sanae Hashimoto

Why me?  Why was I born with a disability?  This question came to me suddenly when I was a teenager, and my journey to find an answer has been on-going since then.  Processwork, with its many tools for discovering meaning in what troubles us, has transformed this journey into a wonderful treasure hunt.

Life with a Disability

I was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, which is a genetic bone disorder characterized by fragile bones that break easily.  Because of this, I am very short and I have been using a wheelchair throughout my life.

In my school days I was always the only child who used a wheelchair or who had such a different stature, but I was rarely bullied.  I was basically a happy kid with full support from my friends and teachers.

Yet I couldn’t stop feeling powerless and inferior inside.  “I am a burden for others,” was my self-image.  I became a therapist so I could contribute and feel “worth” something, even a little.

The Universe Loves Diversity

I discovered Processwork in 2009 as I searched for a favorable orientation for myself as a therapist.  In 2011, I attended a seminar led by Arny and Amy Mindell in Japan.  During the seminar, one of the participants asked Arny why diversity is important.  With a big smile, Arny simply replied, “Just because the universe loves diversity!”  

That was the moment my self-image changed.  Processwork gave me the tools to shift my identity, and Arny’s words helped me see my difference through a wider and more appreciative lens.  

“My disability is a part of diversity,” I said to myself, “and I can be proud of myself for contributing to the world with my disability.”  

I decided Processwork was the paradigm for me.  I knew it would help me find the answer to my question.  I then began my studies at the Japan Process Work Center.

My Childhood Dream:  Survive to Thrive

In Processwork, the first dream a person remembers from childhood, their childhood dream, is considered a mythical blue-print for their life.  This concept is inherited from Jungian psychology.

I was about three years old when I had this dream.  I dreamt I was having breakfast with my parents and my sister in our dining room.  Beautiful sunshine filled the room and everything seemed peaceful.  Suddenly several black shadows, shaped like men, broke into the house.  They robbed us and started to kill my family.  Their weapons were syringes with no needles but with thick fluid poison inside.  They put the poison in our mouths.  All my family were killed, and I was killed last.

I worked with this dream using Processwork to discover what comes next.  As if directing a movie, I created a sequel to this story.

In the sequel, the black shadows were absorbed into the floor and disappeared.  I wasn’t in fact dead, but I woke up somehow transformed by the poison.  I realized what had happened; my parents and my sister were dead, but I was still alive.  I went back to the dining table and ate my breakfast again in the warm sunshine.

The deeper message of my dream is “I survive to thrive.”  

My Body Symptom:  A Little Funny Boy

It had always been a little challenging for me to work on my body symptoms with Processwork because the experience seemed too mysterious.  In January 2018, I attended the Winter Intensive Course at the Process Work Institute, and there I finally tried unfolding the meaning in my main body symptom.  

I explored my secondary process; my fragile, soft, and curving bones.  A unique dance emerged, with a figure who was a blend of an octopus and a human being.  This figure became a little funny boy, about six or seven years old.

I, my primary process, told him, “Get away from my body, you are a burden,” but he didn’t mind at all because he didn’t know what a burden was.  There was no concept of burden in his mind.  All he knew was joy.  He replied to me, “Let’s play with me and enjoy together.  That’s the best!”

I asked him, “How can I trust you?  How can I believe what you say is the truth?”  Then he calmly told me, “How can you not trust me?  I’m in you.”  Then I burst into tears.

From Burden to a Part of Diversity

Through these two and many other experiences with my fellow Processwork students and teachers, I’m becoming free from what has felt like an “abuser-abused relationship,” with my disability.

For me, like the black shadows in my childhood dream, the abuser within my disability becomes a change-maker who makes my own transformation possible.  

I’m learning how to trust and love myself as well as others, the world, and the universe.  The more I learn, the more joy is brought to me, just as the little funny boy teaches me with my body symptom.  When I welcome my disability, including feelings of powerlessness and inferiority, as a doorway into my personal-growth, I can contribute to the world being more diverse and inclusive.

I don’t completely know who I am, but I know I’m not a burden anymore.  I wish to be a change-maker and a thriver for myself and the world. 

I don’t know yet if I have the answer to my question, “Why was I born with a disability?” but I’m happy with the mystery now because I want to continue treasure hunting with Processwork.


By Sanae Hashimoto, MEd

Sanae Hashimoto is a clinical psychologist, certified FJCBCP (Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board for Clinical Psychologists).  She has been working as a student counselor in middle schools and universities for over 15 years, with a special interest in diverse and inclusive education.  She is currently a phase 2 diploma student at the Japan Process Work Center, working on her final project for graduation. 

Photo credit: Ikebana by Sanae Hashimoto

Arnold Mindell: Winter 2019

Join Dr. Arnold Mindell on two Fridays in February, 2019 to explore our connection to dark matter, clairvoyance and everyday life …   Feb 1st, Feb 8th, 3.30-6.30pm  Find out more … Also join the evening case supervision February 1st, 7.30pm, for a unique opportunity to observe and interact as Dr Mindell provides live supervision on participant case presentations. 

Winter Intensive 2019! January 20th – February 21st, 2019

Join us for the 34th Annual Intensive Course in Process WorkJanuary 20th – February 21st, 2019 … Come learn with us to listen to signals we see in everyday reality and in the world of darkness of the night, that means, from our dreams and pre-dream experiences.

The course offers a unique opportunity to learn Process Work in an intensive format and within an international group setting. The course includes Process Work’s many applications and its most recent developments, and it is designed as an adult learning event. Participants will learn and study together by means of theory, experiential exercises, and group processes. Since the course attracts students from many nationalities, ethnic groups, and religious backgrounds, issues such as multiculturalism, diversity, and community building are part of the learning experience.


Master of Art in Process-Oriented Facilitation and Conflict Studies – next cohort Fall 2018 find out more

The MA in Process-oriented Facilitation and Conflict Studies (MAPOF) teaches students to facilitate inner psychology and world problems. Our graduates work in leadership, organizations, counseling, coaching, and as mediators and facilitators in community and global contexts. Our vision is to teach people how to relate to themselves and each other, even amongst difficult conflicts, polarities, and moods. Our experienced faculty, including founders Arny and Amy Mindell, have experience ranging from depth psychology to large organizational consulting, to war zones, and offer students unique training in methods for working with the interconnectivity of personal problems and world problems.

Awareness, Power, and Process Oriented Activism

Join Stan Tomandl and Ann Jacob to explore loving detachment while surrounded by difficult situations for our environment, fellow humans, and our own hopes and dreams. A deep look inward at attitudes and beliefs: how we activate, and don’t activate, ourselves in the midst of internal and external power struggles. For those interested in social and environmental justice and the art of eldership. Register online!

Congratulations MAPOF 1!

Our wonderful MAPOF 1 cohort will be celebrating their graduation today, May 25th. Their Commencement Ceremony will be held at the Process Work Institute from 5 pm to 7:30 pm followed immediately by a Reception with food, drinks, music, and socializing.

We invite everyone to join us for this very special occasion to celebrate this cohort and honor their journey these last two years. All of us at PWI look forward to seeing you there!!
Please contact with any questions. 

The Role of Education in Government

On May 20th and May 27th join Arny Mindell for afternoon and evening courses at PWI. In these classes participants will be studying how education influences, or can determine future governments. Evening classes are supervisions of individual, group, and organizational situations. 

The Facilitator’s “Cracked Pot” and Unique Style

Join Amy Mindell Ph.D. in exploring the facilitator’s “cracked pot”. That is, the unique gifts hidden within learning difficulties or moments when you are not able to use your skills. The class is geared toward new and advanced therapists, facilitators, coaches, teachers, or helpers.  Through discussion and exercises, we’ll discover how your unique nature creates your deepest facilitator style, the “metaskills” that bring your skills to life, and renewed creativity for your work.

Check out the new Faculty VLog: What’s the Process?

Introducing a new feature to the Process Work Institute website: What’s the Process? The Process Work Institute Faculty Vlog. This vlog will feature videos by faculty at the PWI addressing questions relevant to all aspects of Process Work including body symptoms, organizational work, counseling and more. Have a look and don’t forget to bookmark!

What’s the Process? The Process Work Institute Faculty Vlog