Sunday, 26 April 2020

PTI and Don Hadlock

Don Hadlock, co-founder of PTI: the Process Therapy Institute in San Jose, passed away in January this year @ 77 years old. I wanted to tribute him as a leader and teacher and mentor and all around wonderful human being. I was blessed to encounter him within a year long Group Process Therapy series while I was enrolled as a Master's level student in Holistic Counseling at JFK University in Campbell, CA. He and his wife Carol founded PTI 40 years ago, he said, after having had a revelation while driving through the Santa Cruz mountains about the difference between content and process. Content (in the context of therapy) is the words a client speaks. Process is what they are doing while they are speaking; essentially, any other ways they may be communicating through their behavior. Maybe they are biting their lip or laughing when they mean to cry. There is a wealth of information which may be overlooked by talk therapy focused on content. By holding space for and calling attention to process, one can guide someone through present-moment interventions, deepen the therapeutic alliance and cultivate both self and ego awareness. Process therapy is also trauma-informed.  The 'pain body' as Tolle refers to it, encompasses how we hold our history of trauma in our body, which naturally extends to how we relate to the world: ourselves, our friends, family, and community. Mr. Hadlock taught us how to help a client interface the pain body from a gentle and invitational spirit. I am indebted to him. I believe my ability as a psychotherapist to create space and facilitate process and group process in my clinical practice, sources from many of his teachings. I think of him often in my work and I miss him.

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