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The Power of Process-Oriented Psychology in Holistic & Complimentary Healing

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

‍In the realm of holistic healing, where the mind, body, and spirit are recognized as interconnected, process-oriented psychology emerges as a powerful tool for promoting faster recovery and enhancing the healing process. By delving into the depths of the human experience and drawing inspiration from shamanic practices, process-oriented psychology offers a unique approach to understanding and addressing critical illness, chronic symptoms, and the overall well-being of individuals. This complimentary therapy provides a holistic framework that embraces the power of dreams, body symptoms, and altered states of consciousness in facilitating healing and personal growth.

Understanding Process-Oriented Psychology

At its core, process-oriented psychology explores the profound interplay between the conscious and unconscious realms of the human psyche. Developed by Arnold Mindell, a visionary Jungian analyst, process-oriented psychology delves into the concept of the "dreambody," which extends the boundaries of traditional dream analysis to include bodily experiences, symptoms, and synchronicities. By recognizing the interconnectedness of dreams, body symptoms, and everyday experiences, process-oriented psychology opens a door to the hidden realms of the mind and invites individuals to explore the deeper meaning behind their experiences.

The dreambody serves as a gateway to the unconscious, communicating through various channels such as body symptoms, dreams, relationship issues, and even global events. Just as dreams can offer insights into the uncharted territories of our psyche, body symptoms and experiences act as physical manifestations of the dreambody's messages. For example, a dream about a hammer might be accompanied by foot tapping, and by following the tapping foot, one can enter the dreaming process and unravel its meaning through amplification and unfolding. This integration of dreams and body experiences allows individuals to tap into their unconscious wisdom and transform their relationship with themselves, others, and the world around them.

The Link Between Process-Oriented Psychology and Shamanism

Process-oriented psychology shares a profound connection with shamanic practices, both in their understanding of altered states of consciousness and their recognition of the spiritual dimensions of human existence. Just as shamans navigate the realms of the unseen to heal and restore balance, process-oriented psychology embraces the exploration of deep, transcendent states of consciousness to facilitate healing and personal growth.

In shamanism, illness is often seen as a reflection of an individual's spiritual condition, and the same principle applies to process-oriented psychology. Body symptoms and disturbances are viewed not as pathologies to be eliminated but as gateways to enhanced self-understanding and growth. By delving into the unknown and irrational aspects of life, process-oriented psychology invites individuals to embrace their symptoms and disturbances as catalysts for personal transformation. This approach aligns with the shamanic belief that symptoms and disturbances hold the keys to unlocking our potential for growth, happiness, and enlightenment.

The Role of Process-Oriented Psychology in Faster Recovery

When it comes to critical illness and chronic symptoms, process-oriented psychology offers a unique perspective that goes beyond traditional medical treatments. By focusing on the holistic well-being of individuals, this therapeutic approach recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit and aims to facilitate a faster recovery by addressing the underlying psychological and emotional factors that contribute to illness.

One of the key aspects of process-oriented psychology is its emphasis on awareness and the integration of primary and secondary processes. Primary processes are aspects of our experience with which we readily identify, while secondary processes are those that we find challenging to identify with, often feeling distant or foreign. By exploring and integrating secondary processes into our conscious awareness, we can gain deeper insight into our own healing journey and unlock the potential for faster recovery.

Process-oriented psychology also recognizes the importance of cultivating a deep understanding of the self. By working with dreams, body symptoms, and altered states of consciousness, individuals can gain profound insights into their own inner landscape and tap into their innate healing resources. This self-awareness and connection with one's inner wisdom can play a vital role in supporting the healing process and promoting overall well-being.

The Healing Power of Dreams in Process-Oriented Psychology

Dreams have long been regarded as powerful gateways to the unconscious, holding profound wisdom and guidance for those willing to explore them. In process-oriented psychology, dreams play a central role in enhancing our understanding of the self and facilitating the healing process. By delving into the rich symbolism and imagery of dreams, individuals can access hidden aspects of their psyche and gain valuable insights into their emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being.

Dreams in process-oriented psychology are not limited to nighttime experiences but encompass a broader range of extra-conscious signals through which our process communicates itself. These signals can manifest as daydreams, imagery, and fleeting moments of awareness that come and go. By paying attention to these dreamlike processes occurring in waking life, individuals can tap into the rich tapestry of their inner world and uncover the deeper layers of their being.

Through the process of amplification and unfolding, individuals can explore the meaning behind their dreams and integrate these insights into their everyday reality. This integration allows for personal transformation, helping individuals to develop a deeper connection with themselves, their relationships, and the world at large. By working with dreams, process-oriented psychology offers individuals a pathway to self-discovery, healing, and personal growth.

Embracing Body Symptoms in the Healing Journey

In process-oriented psychology, body symptoms are not seen as mere physical ailments but rather as valuable messengers carrying important insights about our emotional and psychological well-being. These symptoms, such as pain, tension, or discomfort, can be viewed as expressions of deeper processes occurring within our psyche.

By exploring the meaning behind body symptoms, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the underlying emotional and psychological factors contributing to their physical discomfort. Process-oriented psychology recognizes that symptoms often arise as a result of the body's attempt to communicate important messages that may be overlooked or neglected.

Through the process of amplification, individuals can delve into the sensations and experiences associated with their symptoms, uncovering the symbolic meaning behind them. By embracing and engaging with these bodily messages, individuals can initiate profound healing and transformation, promoting a holistic sense of well-being.

The Role of Altered States of Consciousness in Healing

Altered states of consciousness, such as trance, meditation, or deep relaxation, have long been recognized as powerful tools for healing and self-exploration. In process-oriented psychology, these states of consciousness are embraced as gateways to expanded awareness and deeper levels of understanding.

By entering altered states of consciousness, individuals can access hidden aspects of their psyche, tap into their innate healing resources, and gain profound insights into their own personal growth and well-being. These altered states provide a unique opportunity to bypass the limitations of the conscious mind and connect with the deeper layers of the self.

Process-oriented psychology offers various techniques and modalities to facilitate the exploration of altered states of consciousness, including breathwork, guided imagery, and somatic practices. By incorporating these practices into the healing journey, individuals can cultivate a deeper connection with themselves and tap into their vast inner resources, promoting healing and personal transformation.


Process-oriented psychology stands as a powerful and holistic approach to healing and personal growth. By embracing the wisdom of dreams, body symptoms, and altered states of consciousness, individuals can tap into their innate healing resources and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. This complimentary therapy not only facilitates faster recovery and alleviates chronic symptoms but also promotes personal transformation, empathy, and social change. By integrating the principles of process-oriented psychology into our lives, we can embark on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and holistic well-being.

Woman looking into the light at the bottom of a gorge

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