“The basic exercise is for us to list about a dozen meaningful events [from birth to our current circumstance] in the movement of our life up to the present point in time.  . . . it gives us a perspective of our life as a whole from the time of our birth to our situation at the time when we are listing our Steppingstones.  The listing of the Steppingstones of our life is the basic step in positioning ourselves between our past and our future.”  [“Steppingstones are the meaningful events that mark off the movement of a person’s life from that person’s own point of view . . . not objectively important . . . always personally important . . . perceived through the eyes and through the experience of the person who is living the life.”]  –Ira Progoff, Life-Study (Dialogue House, 1983)

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Ira Progoff (1921-1998) was an American psychotherapist best known for his development of the Intensive Journal Method; his main interest was in depth psychology.  A humanist, who studied privately with Carl Jung in Switzerland, he founded Dialogue House in New York City to help promote this method.  In 1966, Progoff introduced the Intensive Journal method of personal development, the innovation for which he is most remembered.  The public use of the method increased, and the National Intensive Journal Program was formed in 1977.  It supplied materials and leaders to provide Intensive Journal workshops in the United States and other countries.  The Intensive Journal education program was expanded upon in 1983 with the publication of Life-Study.  [See Wikipedia and for more introduction to the Method.] 

“. . .  I was drawn further toward the conclusion that a private journal is the essential instrument for personal growth . . . I began in 1957 to use a journal as an adjunct to psychotherapy in my private practice.”

[My purpose is to have you use]  “techniques to help you become your own person and find a way of living that will validate itself to you both in terms of your inner sense of truth and the actualities of your outer experience.”

“The Steppingstones of our life are those events that come to our minds when we spontaneously reflect on the course that our life has taken from its beginning to the present moment.”

List no more than a dozen:  1.    2.    3.    4.    5.    6.    7.    8.    9.    10.    11.    12.     

“We go back into the past of our lives, not because of fascination with the past . . . not to lose ourselves in the field of memory . . . [but] in order to reconnect ourselves with the movement of our personal Time/Life, and so that we can move more adequately into our future.”

“The listing of our Steppingstones is the first step that we take in order to position ourselves in the full continuity of our lives.  Each set of Steppingstones that we draw together reflects the interior view of our life as it is perceived from the vantage point of a particular moment.  By being expressed spontaneously and concisely without self-conscious analysis, the Steppingstones list gives us a direct, inner perception of the movement of our life.”     

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At a Journal Workshop: The Basic Text and Guide for Using the Intensive Journal Process (Dialogue House, 1975)

The Practice of Process Meditation: The Intensive Journal Way to Spiritual Experience (Dialogue House, 1980)

Life Study: Experiencing Creative Lives by the Intensive Journal Method (Dialogue House, 1983)

The Progoff Intensive Journal ® Program:



  1. Thanks for stopping by my site. Did you attend a Progoff Workshop? He signed one of his books for me. I still have my workshop notebook and most of my entries. Just last week I gave it to my daughter to get to know me better. I know she won’t read it until maybe after I’m no more. I really liked the Dialogues with Self, which I often use in my own journal. I would reblog your post but altho I’ve had it explained to me I can only work “reblog.” Can I invite your folks to my page on “Journalling Yourself Into Being?”

    • Coincidentally, I was just invited back to the workshops. So I have been re-reading my notes and book notations.
      Fascinating material.
      I return to my relevant entries from time to time. Good stuff there!
      I look forward to your coming blog posts.😎

  2. Virgil Likness said:

    Keep on with your thought provoking writings

    • Thanks for your comments. Seeing them brings back so many memoriesofatime.

  3. Susanne said:

    I have heard of journaling as part of psychotherapy but not this name or technique. I’ll read more – thanks!

    • You will be fascinated, especially if you already keep a journal. It is a wonderful avenue of self-exploration.

  4. Suze said:

    Haven’t heard ira’s name since college psychology classes…….thanks for the reminder of those stepping stones!

    • Great reply! I’m glad I reached out to someone’s past life. The Steppingstones never get away from me.

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