How is Processwork Different From Jungian Psychology?
Processwork and Jungian psychology are part of the same continuum
Both Processwork and Jungian Psychology are Depth Psychology Paradigms. What characterizes a “Depth Psychology” is the focus on the unconscious – personal and/or collective – and Jungian psychology definitely falls into that category. However, there are some key ways in which Processwork diverges from Jung’s thinking.
Processwork is a unique form of depth psychology that has its roots in the work of Arnold and Amy Mindell. It is a transformational approach that views the individual as a microcosm of the universe, and aims to help the individual access their own inner wisdom and resources for healing and change. What sets Processwork apart is its focus on the present moment, on the here and now. It views every experience as an opportunity for learning and growth, and sees the individual as the expert on their own experience. This allows for a more direct and immediate connection to the wisdom of the body and the unconscious.
Processwork also emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the individual and the environment in many ways. To begin, we are phenomenologically influenced and shaped by our surroundings. Second, it takes into account systems power, privilege and oppression, how they impact individuals, relationships and groups. Third, it also recognizes that personal journeys are collective journeys – what happens to one of us affects us all.
Jungian depth psychology is also concerned with the individual and the universe as a whole, but takes a different approach to transformation. It focuses on the development of the ego, and on individuation – the process of becoming more aware of and integrated with the unconscious. It takes a more linear approach to transformation, and views the individual as separate from the rest of existence on a journey toward actualizing its unique wholeness.
Both Processwork and Jungian Depth Psychology are concerned with the individual as a microcosm of the universe. They both view the individual as having the potential to access wisdom and knowledge that is beyond the conscious mind. Jung saw the individual as moving towards wholeness in a spiritual. This is still very much part of Processwork’s understanding of individual development. Both see the universe itself as psyche – reflecting personal and collective consciousness.
Jung’s work was more analytic, while Processwork is more experiential. Jung would often use mythological symbolism to understand the workings of the unconscious. Processwork takes a different tack, using the somatic channels of the body to access unconscious material.
Ultimately, Processwork and Jungian psychology are part of the same continuum. They are both contributions to the field of depth psychology that can be used to understand the psyche – both individual and collective. Jung’s work laid the foundation for much of what we understand today about the unconscious. Processwork has built on that foundation, developing new and innovative ways to access and work with the depths of the psyche.
Both Jungian psychology and Processwork are valuable tools for understanding the human experience. By understanding the differences between them, we can better appreciate the contributions of both paradigms to the field of depth psychology.
For More, we recommend this fantastic book, A Path Made by Walking, by Julie Diamond and Lee Spark Jones.
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