Once you have practiced the single, double and stepping push hands you can begin to learn how to use Sun Style Taiji, Xing Yi and Bagua using the freestyle method.
When I first when to Teacher Lei Shi Tai in 2005, this is how he taught me by using the freestyle push hands as a base. Then trying to use techniques from the form or the 5 Element Fist at first, then introduce other techniques getting progressively more difficult and potentially dangerous for your partner. As the Bagua has a lot of trips and throws as Lei Laoshi demonstrated many times introducing me to trees and bushes as well as the floor on many occasions, but it was always done in a good way with no anger or outward showing of force and it was a very enjoyable experience.
Training the push hands with Chen Laoshi is completely different he can make his energy disappear so you feel nothing. Then he gives it back to you with your own and his energy combined, truly inspiring and an honour to have him teach me.