Worldwork & Deep Democracy

Worldwork is Processwork applied to small and large groups, communities and organizations, international events and environmental problems. Worldwork was developed by Arnold Mindell, founder of Processwork, in the late 1970 and 1980.


Worldwork is an awareness attitude, an approach to situations including large and small groups, relationships and individuals. Worldwork stresses the collective groundwork to each of these situations, using a field oriented or global perspective. Thus, worldwork is an approach, an attitude, a feeling skill for working with the innermost reaches of each of us, as well as the global field of events of which we are all part.

Arnold Mindell


Worldwork’s goal is to bring more awareness to deepen relationships and discover sustainable resolutions for groups and our world, and ultimately to help create a better world for everyone.

Amy Mindell
Worldwork Animated Series Part I Video 4 Worldwork in a Nutshell


Worldwork combines ecology’s interest in the environment, psychology’s focus on the individual and social theory’s comprehension of historical change.

Arnold Mindell


Deep democracy is the core principle and practice of worldwork.


Deep democracy is the principle behind a community building process that hears all voices and roles, including our collective experiences of altered states, and subtle feelings and tendencies. It is a principle that makes space for the separable, the barely speakable and the unspeakable.

Arnold Mindell


Deep democracy suggests that democracy, as we know it today, needs greater awareness, in order to really bring its basic ideals to life, in both the private and public domains.

Amy Mindell
Worldwork Animated Series Part I Video 4 Worldwork in a Nutshell


Why do we need a deeper democracy?


Democracy, as we all think of it today, is about citizen power, or in Greek, “Demo-Kratie” – government by the people. Democracy is important – we all hope for equal rights and peaceful solutions. But because ordinary democracy focuses upon majority “rule”, –that is power– it does not always include relationship ability or the deep feelings and dreams of community life. That is why democracy often fails when it comes to severe human tensions and conflicts. Deep democracy includes this ordinary sense democracy, but goes further by including not only all voices, but also all levels of our experience.

Arnold & Amy Mindell website


We are in need of more eldership to not only take part in, but to facilitate interactions, elder the different sides, help bring about creative resolutions, and most importantly deepen relationships and create a greater sense of community. Arny [Arnold Mindell] realized that democracy is in essence a dream still trying to happen, and that we need a deeper democracy. Deep democracy states that we need awareness in order to really bring democracy’s most cherished beliefs and ideals to life both in our private and public worlds. Without awareness and eldership to process our experiences, personal relationships, political discourse, social action, and community meetings are in danger for striving for outer change while potentially and inadvertently replicating the problems of history [in our moment to moment interactions] Greater awareness of the overt issues we are dealing with, as well as, the more hidden or dreamlike dimensions of communication can help to bring some of the core values of democracy into living action.

Amy Mindell
Worldwork Animated Series Part II Video 2 From Democracy to Deep Democracy


Levels of Awareness included in Deep Democracy


We conceive of deep democracy as an elder’s/facilitator’s multi-leveled awareness experience.

1. Consensus reality: everyday realities, the facts and figures of people, issues, environment, history…

2. Dreamland: dream-like experiences and imagination, subjective feelings and qualitative experience that we can talk about but cannot prove to someone else.

3. The Essence level: the deepest experiences we have in deep sleep and pre-dreaming, including detachment. This deep level seems to be organized by what Arny [Arnold Mindell] calls your processmind. (Other names are “soul”, the “self”, the gods etc.) This processmind is a human “system-mind” and may possibly be nonlocal, that is applicable not only to the individual but to her whole community.

In practice, a facilitator or group that understands deep democracy means listening closely to the issues and recognizing the various power and rank differences of people representing various sides. The facilitator watches their signals and tries to help them complete their ideas–if they need that help. Then the facilitator remembers that the various parts and people are “roles”.  She remembers she can dream about these roles as if they were all inside herself. The “other” and each role is a part of herself! She realizes that all the various parts in a conflict or discussion are actually roles that everyone has within themselves to a lesser or greater extent. Then she uses her own deepest self or processmind to gain distance and encourage people to dialogue. If they get stuck, she reminds them that the “other” is a role, a role that must be played out for it belongs not only to the “other,” but to all of us. With this understanding, people can explore “role switching” which often leads to amazing experiences and resolutions.

Arnold & Amy Mindell website

Amy Mindell on Worldwork & Deep Democracy, Worldwork 2011 in Denver

Arnold Mindell on Worldwork & Deep Democracy, Worldwork 2011 in Denver