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Report of a journey: Attending Process Work at Colombia

By Luiza Helena Frota and Raul Monteiro

Our trip to Colombia was inevitable, because we could not miss the first seminar in South America given by Arnold and Amy Mindell. This was, in turn, the initial tip foot of an intensive and thorough training in the Process Oriented Psychology, or "Trabalho Processivo", as we call it in Brazil.

This training, lasting two years, is that we dream to install here in our country. It has five days modules, video conferencing, work in small groups, individual therapy sessions, plus a practical project that reflects learning and individual guidance of each participant.

The seminar in Bogotá, at the Javeriana University showed that to be a coach effectively requires more than just science. This also needs fundamentally a touch of art, which is that unpredictable aspect that comes to mind like lightning, a flash, or an insight.

After several exercises of integration of our science (what we know) with our art (as we are in essence) the seminar culminated in an Open Forum, whose theme chosen by consensus, among more than ten, was the peace process in Colombia.

In an Open Forum, the parties in conflict appear as roles. The main roles were, of course: the government and the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army), though soon began to emerge some ghosts roles, cited roles but absent in these negotiations: the victims, the peasants, families, ordinary citizens... So the conflicts became between charges and very strong defenses and many intense emotions. Or hotspots, as we call.

However, the acceptance point or coolspot, and solver of tensions occurred when the ghost role of fear came through a participant who took on his homosexual condition. [In the picture, lying and protected]

At this time, there was a great collective excitement and the various "roles" in confrontation subsided, a momentary peace demonstrated in practice the possibility of understanding and agreement. The Open Forum was then enclosed in a climate of relief and hope. 

This all happened on 12. On the 13th, we spent the day with a Colombian shaman and were warmly greeted with a magnificent lunch by a Colombian couple who also attended the Seminar with us.

When we traveled back to Brazil, on the 14th, we heard the news that the Colombian government has returned to bomb the guerrilla front. As the government said, the action was in retaliation for an attack with military deaths. On the other hand, according to a negotiator of the FARC in Cuba, it happened because the government continues, with no flexibility whatsoever, to do military operations against guerrillas in unilateral truce.

As there is no way of judging versions without checking the facts, we can only regret and charge this apparent setback (on a negotiated solution) as a result of failure to make those roles not yet represented in the negotiations that have lasted two years in Cuba, and that were expressed in our Open Forum.


Returning to day 12, after the large and Open Forum, to allow the expression of all of the 160 participants, were 28 boards with 5 to 6 participants. Each group chose the theme and the coach, who encouraged dialogue between the roles, stand by and ghosts, who were presented.

Our group with four other dweller of Colombia beyond us, raffled a Colombian as a facilitator and the polarity she brought - Blablabla X Detachment - theme.

After angry confrontation between supporters of the peace agreement (the gossip) and the distant, emerged the ghost role of the citizen in an intense dialogue with others, managed to join all but one - the role of desperation, that was represented by a african-Columbian and remained adamant, even when the whole group expressed that accepted her position and wait for her.

The acceptance point (coolspot) occurred when Luiza, moved, shared the experience of how she felt alone and hopeless at dawn in a strange city - Bogota, without speaking the language and without support. And how everything has changed when she asked a stranger what he was eating for breakfast. The stranger guided in all she needed, showing a Bogota invisible to outsiders.

Her emotion brought tears to everyone and the african-Columbian hugged, all forming one group, thrilled and cohesive. Amy Mindell was circulating among the groups, and also participated in the excitement and the outcome of this our little-big group.

And so it happened to rediscover our great masters, creators of the Process Work. A reunion which joined a meeting with Colombia, that through the leadership of Carol Zahner, is creating the first Process Work certification in South America.


Our encounters in Colombia encouraged us to review our dream of an certification in Brazil, much closer in time and far more viable. 

* Luiza Helena Frota and Raul Monteiro are directors of the Instituto Janus and were present at a International Conference in Colombia.    

This article was translated by Rafael Tomyama

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