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The Penninghame Process - Deep Personal Growth and Self Awareness

by Rosie Manton(more info)

listed in personal growth, originally published in issue 219 - January 2015


“As an irrigator guides water to his fields

 As an archer aims an arrow,

 As a carpenter shapes wood

 The wise shape their lives”                

           Buddha, from the Dhamapada

The Pennington Process

Who Would You Be Without Your Story?


A group of courageous people arrive at a given location. They are challenged quite strongly and held in love. After six days they leave, still with their stories but with a profound difference. They still have their stories, but their stories no longer have them. They have discovered within themselves rich resources, some profound truths and a more satisfying way to live.

It would be naïve to assert that lasting change can be predicated on six days’ growth work. Change takes time. However, with strong motivation, awareness and diligent practice, new neural pathways can be built into the brain, which can supersede the old conditioning. This will produce positive results over time.

We generally define ourselves by the kind of lives we have lived, the things we have done, the people who have influenced us, the feelings we have, the people, places and things which currently surround us, and our beliefs, fantasies and ideals. We say “This is me”. From the Penninghame Process point of view, we would say “You are much more than that”.

Often, when we seek help in order to change, it is because this self-definition does not serve us anymore. We feel helpless or in pain, dissatisfied with life, caught up with ill-health, or struggling with difficult relationships.

The Pennington Process


Set against this background are the external forces currently shaping our world, economic decline in the West, instability through war worldwide, and the rapid rise of technologies, particularly in communications as evidenced in the worldwide web. As a consequence, our collective mental and emotional health is subjected to many stresses which underpin the health crises we see all around us in the forms of cancers, heart problems, depressions and addictions, all of which can be associated with the breaking down of our immune systems. To say stress kills is not an overstatement. The old medical model does what it can to address these problems but, increasingly, new strategies for meeting these conditions are needed and are being developed. Simultaneously there is a growing requirement for individuals to take personal responsibility for their own health and well-being.

The Penninhame Process is but one developmental model in a field of possibilities which offer the chance of making fundamental changes in our responses to life based on the principles of Self- Awareness and Choice.


The origins of the Penninghame Process lie in the work of the Swedish medical doctor turned psychologist, Dr Bengt Stern, whose purpose was primarily to help people to transform their lives directly, rather than through understanding themselves better. He founded the human growth centre at Mullingstorp, Sweden, where his course, “Meet Yourself” laid the foundations for the Penninghame Process. This course was, and still is, designed to enable participants to experience, as children, how they responded to their parents or other primary care-givers, and how this fixed template of response, firmly embedded, but now no longer useful, continued into adulthood to distort and disrupt their lives. This awareness  leads them to break free from outdated patterns and to begin the journey into becoming who they truly are.

The Pennington Process


Fundamental to this programme was the primacy of bodywork and feelings over the more traditional therapeutic mind-led model. The roots of bodywork lie initially with the discoveries of Wilhelm Reich  in the 1930s , and which were further developed by Alexander Lowen who wrote Bioenergetics and many other publications (see the booklist), John C Pierrakos,and  Aneesha Dillon, also Reichian trained who wrote Tantric Pulsation.

The Process

The Penninghame Process started in 2001, initially led for five years by one of the ex- Mullingsthorp leaders, Kari Paues who, in turn, trained the current leaders of the process. Ray Butler, who himself had spent several years with Bengt Stern at Mullingstorp, birthed a vision  for a growth centre ,which led to the purchase of the current location, Penninghame House, on the fringe of the Galloway hills. Rosie Manton, Senior Trainer in Psychosynthesis, began her friendship and ultimate collaboration with Ray following a Holotropic Breathwork™  workshop in which she was the leader and he a participant. She brought along her own range of various skills to the Penninghame programme. Many of the original structures have been carried forward, but also the work of other practitioners in the field of Body, Mind, Spirit, notably the work of Bert Hellinger - Family Constellations - which gives a context to a person’s place in the overall family structure and which naturally has a bearing on that person’s responses to life, and more recently the work of Danish family therapist Jesper Juuls, whose insistence on Equal Dignity between all persons underpins the ethos  of the whole programme.

Participants learn to face inwards and examine themselves, rather than outwards, projecting their discomfort onto the world “out there” They learn the art of listening deeply to what is going on their bodies in the here and now, practices which are aligned to the practice of meditation and teachings of new voices in  current stress reduction programmes, in particular the teachings of Jon Kabat Zinn. They have the opportunity to loosen inherent body armouring, freeing up feelings and allowing the unhampered flow of energy through the body. They learn the meaning of personal responsibility  and understand the connections between negative thinking and disease.

The setting of any deep growthful work needs to be safe, containing and peaceful, with nourishment for both body and soul which is what this process provides. A high ratio of supporters to participants, all who have previously participated in the programme, ensures this safe containment, as does a strict code of confidentiality. A structured individual follow up programme offers support over the early months after the process, and supplementary workshops are  also available.


Ultimately, the greatest context for all the work of the Pennighame Process is that it is rooted in the fundamental principle central to all spiritual traditions of both East and West, of love for all fellow human beings.


Dillon Aneesha L. Tantric Pulsation. Perfect Publishers Ltd. Cambridge UK. 2005.

Grof Stanislav. The Adventure Of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness And New Perspectives In Psychotherapy. SUNY, NY. 1988.

Hellinger Bert. Love’s Hidden Symmetry. Zeig, Tucker & Co., Inc. Phoenix USA. 1998.

Juuls Jesper. Your Competent Child. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York. 2001.

Kabat-Zinn Jon. Full Catastrophe Living. Piatkus, Little, Brown Book Group, UK. 2001.

Laban Rudolf von. The Mastery of Movement. (2nd Edition of The Mastery of Movement on the Stage), revised and enlarged by Lisa Ullmann. London: MacDonald and Evans. 1971.

Lipton Bruce. The Biology of Belief. Hay House, California US. 2005.

Lowen Alexander. Bioenergetics. Penguin Books London UK. 1976.

Pierrakos John. Core Energetics, Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal. LifeRhythm, California. 1990.

Roth Gabrielle and Loudon, John. Maps to Ecstasy: Teachings of an Urban Shaman. New World Library California USA.1989.

Stern Bengt. Feeling Bad is a Good Start. ProMotion Publishing. 1996.

Toffler Alvin. Future Shock. Turtleback Books St Louis USA. 1999.


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About Rosie Manton

Rosie Manton, always a creative spirit, has had three guiding themes - Art, Music and Dance – and their power to enable individuals to become, and to express themselves, as they truly are. Rosie initially trained in the UK at the Laban Art of Movement Studio with Lisa Ullman, learning the basic principles of human movement and its expressive possibilities, particularly dance. Called back by the Laban Studio to train teachers to teach creative dance, Rosie then worked with movement and dance in the community for many years, working with every age from three to 93 year olds. During this period, she spent seven years with special needs adults and also spent time teaching liberal studies for art students. Later, she went on to run courses in Zurich with Laban’s grandson Claude Perrotet. She taught creative dance on International Summer Schools under the direction of Lisa Ullmann , and on Lisa’s death under Sam and Susi Thornton.

Rosie trained for four years as a psychospiritual therapist at the Psychosynthesis and Education Trust in UK, remaining, as she still does, to help train budding therapists in London and Stockholm. Rosie became a qualified leader in free dance - 5 Rhythms™- training with Gabrielle Roth in the United States and UK, running courses in UK, Stockholm, Gothenberg and Frankfurt. As a fully qualified leader of Holotropic Breathwork™ workshops, Rosie trained and certified in the United States and UK by the founder Dr Stanislav Grof. Rosie went on to expand her breadth of expertise in advanced bodywork training with Aneesha Dillon in Pulsation, a blend of Neo-Reichian and Chakra bodywork. For pleasure, Rosie paints and plays Sousaphone in a local jazz band in Southern Spain, where she lives with her husband Malise. She may be contacted via Penninghame House on Tel: 01671 401414; Fax: 01671 401410;

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