Process Work offers a non-pathologizing model to understand and work with the full range of human experiences. We can imagine this range as a continuum which unites all states. On the continuum, there are ordinary states which are considered normal by a specific culture and historical moment. Further along, there are altered and extreme states which may be more unknown to us. Some of these states may even result in our hospitalisation or incarceration. Other unusual states of consciousness include addiction, coma, near-death experiences, and psychiatric conditions. Process Work’s Deep Democracy approach values and supports all states and experiences, offering the skills and tools needed to discover new meanings and possibilities. The goal is to increase the individual’s ability to move with freedom and awareness through the continuum of their experience.

Process Work sees altered states from an individual and cultural perspective In the individual, states and experiences are like messengers bringing useful insights. In social spaces, altered states usually express the most marginalized and invisible parts of a family or societal belief system. Given how deeply these two perspectives intersect, Process Work endeavours to engage both in its methodologies.

You can find more information in the books City Shadows: Psychological Interventions in Psychiatry, Coma: the Dreambody near Death and El Cuerpo del Chamán by Arnold Mindell; Coma: a Healing Journey by Amy Mindell; and Outside Mental Health. Voices and Visions of Madness andDiscontinuación del Uso de Drogas Psiquiátricas: Una Guía Basada en la Reducción del Daño by Will Hall.

“Perhaps people with experiences of extreme states are potential shamans, capable of connect worlds. It is important that all people bring light and experience marginalized experiences, at least a little bit. […] we need all people, all our diversity to get where we are going as a planet. […] Try all the worlds. All the roads.”

Arnold Mindell (2013) The Dance of the Ancient One