Someone recently asked me to define what I call “Process Work.” I thought about it for a couple of minutes and said, “Process work is the work we do on a moment-by-moment, day-by-day basis—on ourselves as people, and on the skills and talents that we use in our chosen career path. Process work has a beginning, a middle and no end—It is work that spans and defines our lifetimes.”
Anyone who has ever opted for Psychotherapy understands the concept—and value—of process work—as do professional actors. Actors understand that the process of learning to be the best actor they can be is a process that has no end. And rather than being overwhelmed or daunted by this notion (“Oh, My GOD, this process is ENDLESS, I’ll NEVER be the actor I hope to be!”), they actually embrace the process as key to their growth and development. They understand – and are excited by the fact– that there is always something to learn, always more growth to be had, always another layer of the onion to peel away.
When I was living and working as an actress in New York City, I performed in play after play after play. And I learned early that it was the PROCESS of the work, the day-by-day, nuts and bolts exploration of the material with my fellow actors in a rehearsal situation—that was most satisfying. There was always so much to learn! The process didn’t end after opening night, either. It continued night after night during the run of the shows, as my colleagues and I continued our exploration of the work at hand in front of our audience. Each night the show was slightly different– the “result,” if you will, of vital, ever- changing choices and interactions between actors in real moment-by-moment time.
The concept of “Process Work” is key to the The SPEEK technique. I am quick to tell my clients that they are embarking on a journey of discovery about themselves: What do they think and feel and believe? What particular, distinctive “color palette” do they bring to their interactions and relationships? How do they present themselves (both verbally and non-verbally)? I encourage them to do what actors do, which is to get curious about themselves. When we begin the process of working together, I explain that the work they do outside of our sessions is often the most powerful work. I remind them that, if they want to make real progress on a deep level, they need to be willing to implement the tools and techniques I am teaching them at any opportunity that comes up during the course of their busy days. Change—real change—takes time and patience. A willingness to surrender to the “process” of the work instead of focusing solely on “results” is the key to lasting change on that path towards more effective communication.