For many years, we used Developmental Process Work (DPW) as our clinical modality to help people heal experiences of developmental shock, trauma, and stress. As our understanding of developmental trauma expanded, we realized that it caused many people to close their hearts to protect themselves from further suffering. Unfortunately, this also energetically disconnected them from those closest to them and left them feeling isolated and lonely.
After this discovery, we expanded our clinical modality by focusing more on attachment theory and therapy, and on the “affairs of the heart.” The new quantum sciences speak to this experience from the perspective of “coherence,” emphasizing the role of not only the physical heart, but also the metaphysical heart.
We gradually transitioned our clinical approach into Heart-Field Therapy (HFT), which stresses the importance of learning to give and receive conditional love. HFT’s ultimate goal is helping people to be deeply intimate with each other, while also psychologically separate and individuated in ways that allow maximum mutual growth. HFT helps clients shift from the trauma track to the LOVEvolution track by having them identify and resolve internal and/or interpersonal recurring or intractable conflicts that contain unresolved shocking, traumatic, or stressful experiences from the first 3 years of life. We describe many of these tools in our books, Conflict Resolution: The Partnership Way, and LOVEvolution: A Heart-Centered Approach for Healing Developmental Trauma.
The Client-Therapist Relationship
HFT emphasizes the role of the client-therapist relationship as a major component in helping people shifting from the Trauma Track to the LOVEvolution track. For this reason, the therapeutic environment must be very safe, emotionally supportive, and trust-building so that clients can reprocess both the biological and psychological components of their developmental shock, trauma, and stress. Therapists must have cleared enough lingering effects of their own developmental shocks, traumas, and stresses in order to interact from an empathic, heart-centered space. Then it becomes possible for clients to really experience the unconditional love that is central to the LOVEvolution track.
In this empathic and heart-centered therapeutic crucible, clients are able to identify their unhealed developmental shocks, traumas, and stresses and resolve the intractable conflicts associated with them. Then clients are able to complete any essential developmental processes not completed in the codependent and counterdependent stages of early childhood. Most importantly, clients are able to experience the support of a healthy, conscious relationship while they are doing their deep therapeutic work.
History of Heart-Field Therapy / Developmental Process Work
HFT / DPW emerged in our clinical work after studying Process-Oriented Psychology (POP) with Drs. Arny & Amy Mindell in Zurich, Switzerland in 1986. As they used quantum principles and practices in their approach, what we often saw emerge in people’s clinical work were incomplete development processes from the first three years of life.
This deepened our study of developmental psychology, pre- and perinatal psychology and traumatology. Over time, we were able to organize the research, theory and practice of these fields into our own clinical paradigm for working with individuals, couples and families. Professionally, DPW emerged out of the co-teaching that we did in our conflict resolution classes in the Counseling & Human Services Program at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
We recognized that intractable conflicts were almost always anchored in developmental trauma from the first three years of life and responsible for lifetime cycles of traumatic reenactment. We began expanding our model by first applying these principles in our own couple relationship and families.
After Janae did demonstrations about resolving intractable conflicts during the conflict resolution classes, counseling students’ request for more in-depth skills led her to offer DPW as an elective class. This eventually grew into a 4-course graduate series. Janae also began offering DPW trainings to the professional staff at ROZRADA, CICRCL’s sister NGO in Kiev, Ukraine between 2007 – 2011, and at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, NC. We also developed very specific principles for working with couples and families. This part of our clinical work has been especially satisfying, as we’ve seen couples transform themselves, their couple relationship and their family structure.