Process Oriented Psychology

Process Oriented Psychology

Process Oriented Psychology

Process oriented psychology or as it is better known process work, was developed by Dr. Arnold Mindell. Process oriented psychology has roots in Jungian Psychology and Taoism. Process oriented psychology follows the way of nature while bringing awareness into the patterns that structure our lives. This includes the parts of our lives that are unseen, unappreciated, and disturbing. In 1969, Dr. Mindell realized that body experiences and symptoms mirror dreams and are meaningful expressions of the unconscious.

Process oriented psychology discovers the potential patterns for change in our lives within the experiences that disturb us. Dreams, physical symptoms, addictions, family and relationship problems, group conflicts and social tensions; all of these experiences reveal an inner order and coherence that can bring new information vital to our personal or collective growth.

The beliefs of process oriented psychology

As individuals and groups we usually find it hard to give equal value to every part of ourselves and our experiences. Instead we identify ourselves a specific way. For example, we consider ourselves strong or weak, loving or detached. A central idea of process oriented psychology is to support the totality of our personal richness and to help the less-valued parts of ourselves to find expression and a place in our lives.

Process oriented psychology relies on awareness by both the therapist and client, rather than a specific method of psychology. The client needs to become aware of two levels of experience – both their primary experience that they readily embrace and their secondary experience that they often see as foreign which is better known as their unconscious, dreams, projections and beliefs:

Primary experience

  • Conscious
  • Embraced, normal
  • Verbal, behavioral
  • Foreground
  • Self

Secondary experience

  • Unconscious
  • Rejected, alien
  • Nonverbal, emotions, projection
  • Background
  • Other

The aim of process oriented psychology is to identify the client’s primary and secondary processes and what exactly it is that separate them. Then the client’s identity can be enriched by amplifying and unfolding secondary experiences until they are understood and can then finally become a part of the client’s actual world that they experience on a waking and day to day basis.

The uses of process oriented psychology

Process oriented psychology has been used in many different areas and is used in therapy for couples, family, personal growth and for during life crisis. Process oriented psychology can be a way to meditate on your own psychological or life processes and a way to work with body symptoms and physical illness. Process oriented psychology is also commonly used for people nearing end of life because of its valuing altered states. Process oriented psychology has been widely involved with organizational development in business and educational work with children in schools by applying the values of creativity and art.

History of Therapy: Wilhelm Reich

History of Therapy: Wilhelm Reich

History of Therapy: Wilhelm Reich

Wilhelm Reich was born on March 24, 1897 and lived until November 3, 1957. Wilhelm Reich is known for his work as an Austrian psychoanalyst. Wilhelm Reich’s work in the field of therapy came after Sigmund Freud but he was still one of the most radical figures in the history of therapy.

Wilhelm Reich wrote many books including Character Analysis, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, The Sexual Revolution, and contributed to the book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense, written by Anna Freud. Wilhelm Reich also shaped what we known as body psychotherapy with his idea that the expression of the personality is in the way the body moves. He was also very influential in Fritz Perl’s gestalt therapy, Alexander Lowen’s bioenergetics analysis and Arthur Janov’s primal therapy.

Wilhelm Reich influenced generations of intellectuals especially with his books. During a 1968 student uprising in Paris and Berlin students were throwing his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism at the police.

Wilhelm Reich got his start after graduating in medicine from the University of Vienna in 1922. Reich studied neuropsychiatry. Wilhelm Reich tried to settle psychoanalysis with Marxism. Wilhelm believed neurosis is rooted in physical, sexual and socio-economic conditions. Wilhelm was active in his work and went to see his patients in their homes to see how they lived. Reich developed therapeutic methods to help people give up their emotional armor, to become more emotionally alive; but he also approached the problem from the social and political side of things, working to pass laws against child abuse, opposing the rigid sex-repressions and legal powers of the Church, to give women equal rights and pay, and to make divorce and contraceptives more freely available. He openly criticized the Nazis and the Communist Party for their power-mongering and threats against individual freedoms. For this, he was severely attacked from all quarters.

From this point forward he became an extremely controversial figure in the field of therapy. During his entire life no one published his books except his own publisher. The promoting of sexual permissiveness did not sit well with the rest of the therapy community and his associates.

Wilhelm Reich moved to New York in 1939, in part to get away from the Nazis and in part to get a fresh start. Soon after he moved to New York he coined the term “orgone”-which he is still to this day most famously known for. What at first appeared to be only “bioelectricity” was later clarified by Reich as a much more powerful bioenergetics force — a form of life-energy at work within living organisms, expressing itself as emotion and sexuality, but also able to be seen in the microscope as a bluish-glowing field around living blood cells and other substances. This bluish-glowing energy, which he eventually called orgone energy, was later observed a glowing blue radiating from animals and people, from trees and even mountain ranges.  He said it was others referred to as God.

In 1940 he began building accumulators. Accumulators were devices that his patients sat inside of to gain health benefits by tapping into orgone energy. Newspapers told stories of Wilhelm Reich which described things such as sex boxes that cured cancer.

Following these boxes and his coining the term orgone, Wilhelm went to prison. After two articles about him were written in The New York Republic and Harper’s, the FDA got a hold of a shipment of orgone accumulators and the literature to go along with them. The FDA believed he was a fraud and so Wilhelm Reich was charged with contempt in 1956 and sentenced to two years in prison where he would die. In the August after he had been sentenced to prison, the United States burned many of his publications by order of the court-this is one of the most memorable examples of censorship in the history of the United States. Shortly after, Wilhelm Reich died in jail of heart failure


History of Therapy: Carl Jung

History of Therapy: Carl Jung

History of Therapy: Carl Jung

Carl Jung’s work left a notable impact on the field of psychology. His concepts of introversion and extroversion have influenced personality psychology and psychotherapy. His advice to a patient suffering from alcoholism led to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, which has helped millions of people recover from alcoholism.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Early Life

Carl Jung was born in Kesswil, Switzerland in 1875. His father was a pastor. He was the fourth, but only surviving child. Carl Jung was an introverted and solitary child. When he was 12 years old, Carl Jung was pushed to the ground by another child and lost consciousness. Afterward, he had fainting spells frequently. He later explained the experience as his first encounter with neurosis.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Career

Carl Jung studied medicine, but he also had an interest in spiritual phenomena while in school. Later, he would combine medicine and spirituality into his theories about the human psyche. He eventually began to study psychiatry.

Early in his career, Carl Jung worked with psychiatric patients at the University of Zurich asylum. He wrote Studies in Word Association in 1906 and sent a copy to Sigmund Freud. This was the beginning of a friendship between the two. They finally met in person in 1907.

Sigmund Freud had an impact on Carl Jung’s later theories. It was this influence that led to Jung’s fascination for the unconscious mind. However, Jung’s theories began to diverge from Freud’s. He rejected Freud’s emphasis on sex as the sole source of behavior. Carl Jung became increasingly interested in dreams and theories. He formed his own theory called Analytical Psychology.

In the following six years, Carl Jung started to explore his own subconscious. He recorded his experience in a book known as The Red Book. The book was not published until 2009.

History of Therapy: Carl Jung: Theories

Carl Jung believed there were three parts of the human psyche. These were the ego, the personal conscious and the collective unconscious. The ego is the conscious mind. The collective unconscious is the reservoir of all the experience and knowledge of the human species.

Carl Jung also believed in the process of individuation. Individuation is a process by which the various parts of the psyche (the ego, personal unconscious, and collective unconscious) become integrated. When this happens, Jung believed, the person becomes their “true self.” Carl Jung thought that this process was essential for a person to become whole and fully developed as a human being.

Carl Jung once treated an American patient, Rowland Hazard, who was suffering from chronic alcoholism. He worked with him for some time and did not achieve any significant progress. Carl Jung then told the man that his alcoholism was nearly hopeless, and the only possibility of recovery would be through a spiritual experience. He noted that occasionally a spiritual experience could help alcoholics when all else failed. The influence of Carl Jung indirectly found its way into the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.


History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud is probably one of the most well-known therapists of all time. He pioneered new techniques that are still used in psychotherapy today. His theory of personality is the most comprehensive ever developed.  He was the founding father of psychoanalysis.

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud:  How he changed psychotherapy

Early psychology focused on conscious human experience. Sigmund Freud changed the face of psychology by proposing a theory of personality that emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind. It was Freud’s belief that all of our actions and behaviors can be traced back to their unconscious thoughts and desires. Freud worked with many patients suffering from what was known then as hysteria. He postulated that their early childhood experiences and unconscious impulses contributed to their adult personality and behavior.

History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud: Development of psychoanalytic therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy is based on the work of Sigmund Freud, who developed his theories in the 1800’s. In 1885, Freud went to work with another psychiatrist, Jean-Martin Charcot, who used hypnosis to treat women who were suffering from what was then known as hysteria. These women presented with partial paralysis, hallucinations, and nervousness.

Freud took what he learned and continued to research hypnosis in treatment. He then worked with another psychiatrist who had discovered that women suffering from hysteria benefited by talking about it. Freud combined the “talk therapy” technique with hypnosis and began to use them both in his practice.

History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud: Ongoing work

Sigmund Freud continued to develop his theory over a period of over half a century. In 1923, Sigmund Freud described his constructs of the id, ego, and the superego. According to Freud, the id is the most primitive part of personality. It operates according to the pleasure principle and seeks instant gratification. Freud also believed that every living human had a life and death instinct. He called the life instinct the eros and the death instinct the thanatos. Both the life and death instinct are part of the id. The energy that powers the id, according to Freud, is the libido.

In Freud’s theory, the ego is extremely objective. It operates according to reality and deals with the demands of the environment. It regulates the libido and keeps the id in check. It acts as the control center.

The superego represents the values and standards of an individual’s feelings of pride and heightened self-esteem. The superego is the part of the personality that strives for perfection.

Freud believed that the development of these three factors determines a person’s behavior in any given situation. Their behavior in a situation in turn develops their personality. Sigmund Freud put a lot of importance on the early years of childhood because that’s when he believed the three parts of personality were developed. He called these early years the psychosexual years, and he believed that each child went through five stages. Some people, Freud believed, became stuck in certain stages and for that reason; they were unable to fully develop.