~Pamela Chubbuck, PhD ©2012, rev 2015
Why do most people think that one therapy hour a week for months or years will be the cure for our emotional ills? Probably that conventional time frame is insurance company-driven like many other medical care issues in present time. But is it the most effective? Best? Most satisfying for the client and perhaps shockingly – I ask, “Is it most satisfying for me, the therapist?”
Current research (Yes! There is current research!*) tells us that a therapist who cares, thinks about the client, innovates ways to work with individual needs, tries to find “whatever works”, and does not follow a rote book-learned modality, has the best results with clients.
(*Ericsson, K. Anders (Ed), The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance; (pp 683–784) Cambridge University Press, 2006).
John Pierrakos (co-founder of Bioenergetic Analysis, founder of Core Energetics), quintessential master therapist who today might be called a SuperShrink**, taught that the therapist must be an equal partner with the client, as we are all on a spiritual path of learning together. John called Core Energetics – ” therapy of the heart.”
(** Supershrink: Unusually effective and talented psychotherapist. – Supershrink: Methods of a Psychotherapist, University of MN Press 2003).
Bioenergetics International Trainer, John Bellis, MD – another SuperShrink – taught me to use all my knowledge and training, then morph it into my own unique way of working. I enjoy working spontaneously with clients according to their healing need of the moment, and it is invigorating never knowing what I or my clients will do next. I am fascinated with the process, thrilled to learn more and like trying new ways of working.
If you are alarmed or intrigued because you have learned to rely on the limitations of strictly research-prescribed or current popular method; I invite you to free yourself and try to work otherwise. Experiment!
Client feedback and results consistently bear out the effectiveness of this often-debriding work of taking off the top layer of Mask and uncovering the wounds below. This ultimately heals deeper issues, rather than staying on the surface level and assisting the client by “band aiding”, which many current therapies endorse, partially due to limitations of the methods themselves, or the therapists lack of training – particularly the fact that graduate schools do not emphasize or support students in doing their own deep process work.
I imagine I would rather work at McDonald’s if I had to follow a therapy script, or was restricted to some modality taught in contemporary masters level courses for therapists, stay “in my head”, and/or sit in a chair all day!
Realizing that many people were not served well with the old hourly offering, I created Psycho-Spiritual Personal Intensives™, two and a half decades ago, where I meet with clients over a period of hours and/or days, because I have found more integrated time with a client most helpful to the client and therefore most rewarding for me. I really hated ending a session when a clock artificially, mechanically dictated “our time is up” despite the client often being in the flow of a deep and important process.
Working intensively over a few days, following the personal emotional and body waves of the client can help them move more quickly through blocks that are creating suffering in their lives.
Personal Psycho-Spiritual Intensives are not run by the clock. We have a start time, but ending comes with the satisfying movement through an issue. We pause when tired, hungry or need a bathroom break. We rest when an issue has been worked and the body/mind needs to integrate.
I still offer those 50 minute hour and 80 minute sessions and they work well for some clients who live nearby – over time.
It is the morning of the first day of Fred’s 4-day Personal Intensive. Meeting a client for the first time is always thrilling for me. The client and I are stepping into a mystery of unknowns that will slowly gain clarity as the days unfold.
It’s a wonderful adventure! I am glad to finally to be meeting Fred in person, after several phone conversations and having studied his detailed autobiography. I have looked at the photos he provided of himself and have some sense of his issues as revealed by his character structure – armoring – body type. But no photos can ever tell me what being with a client will feel like and reveal.
I have no agenda except to be as helpful as I can to the person who presents in my Georgia office or the Maine retreat-type cabin. I keep in my mind and heart the spiritual component of this person’s journey – and mine.
Fred has been doing some Bioenergetic and Core Energetic exercises he learned in a spiritual training, designed to assist him to realize where he is physically-emotionally stuck and begin to release. We pray together at the beginning of the work. He prays for assistance to be undefended and allow his deepest truth to emerge. He asks for assistance to be courageous about the things that scare him and block his energy. I pray to be grounded, open-hearted and to do my very best at all times – for the greatest good of Fred and for the greatest good of all.
I don’t know what will happen over the four days of Fred’s Intensive. I do know that looking ahead from the first hour, four days seems long to me and practically an eternity for the client. From experience I know it will go by quickly and profound things will happen that will amaze and touch us both. I am privileged and thankful to be doing this work with this person – this embodied soul. I know by the end of our time together I will hold this client in my heart for all time. This is my cherished and sacred work.
On the first morning Fred is encouraged to verbally and emotionally share his story. I explain the neurobiology and recent brain research that wonderfully explains part of why we work with the Higher Self, Lower Self and Mask of Core Energetics and The Pathwork and also the Lower Self Saboteur, that I added after I realized we all have that aspect to deal with. We spend time weaving a safety net, which is necessary for Fred to feel secure for the deeper work ahead. Over the rest of our four days together there will be much less talking.
What does happen: Secrets are revealed. Much Bioenergetic and Core Energetic mind-body-spirit work is experienced. Spiritual principles are explored and some embraced. Fred looks at who he is not, the way he cheats himself out of life, by living in the part of him that tries to get love by acting what he perceives that someone else wants of him. This is his Mask. He safely expresses his Lower Self: pounding, kicking, yelling, sweating and crying. We also work with Fred’s Lower Self Saboteur, the part of him that wants to thwart anything good he desires, that wants to keep him “down”. Exploring how he sabotages his best self is essential. This work brings new awareness and vitality. His body vibrates.
After each piece of deep work, Fred finds more of who he is. He gains understanding. He experiences his Higher Self. He fights his demons and asks his angels and guides for assistance. Fred laughs. His energy field expands. He glimpses his essence. He is able to more fully embrace pleasure.
Fewer Drugs, Fewer Hospitalizations. Good!
My experience is that if most people had someone to sit with them and listen with no judgment and unconditional love, as well as allow and assist them with healthy safe release of intense emotions, they can work through their difficulty, in hours, days or sometimes weeks. With that kind of help many fewer people would be sent to hospital or given psychotropic medications. We need to make this kind of help available to more people as medicating and hospitalizing people has become a travesty in the United States.
Margaret, a 24 year old attractive woman came to me confused and very frightened. Once hospitalized for an attempted suicide and given psychotropic medications that she said had just made her worse, she did not want to go down that path again. She wanted to live more fully and stop repeating her destructive pattern – she said “I pick ‘bad’ men”. During her three days of intense work she discovered why she did that. Margaret learned how to work on her negative beliefs about herself, and grapple with the demon of her Lower Self Saboteur. She felt more empowered and alive.
Frightening to think that most people with her history and complaints would very likely been prescribed medications or ended up in hospital again. This intensive work must be and is infused with unconditional love and touches all levels of human being.
Candace called to say she and Roland, her husband of 28 years, were quite stuck and needed help. Candace had worked with me ten years ago and now she felt I was the one who could help their relationship move forward. Currently they did not live near any therapist who did Core Energetics work. So they booked three days to work with me.
Core Energetics understands that couples get in trouble when they are not real or cease to be real with each other. Real includes so-called negative emotions, conflict, and passion – the very things that many of us have been taught as children to avoid; and too many couples therapists try to steer couples away from. Intimate relationships need the flow of spontaneous emotions to carry them closer.
After Eros – the initial energetic “rush”/fascination/panacea of new relationship – fades, many couples stop uncovering and sharing the exciting path to their Core–the center of their Being. The Core is the part that wants to expand and always loves life! Then Eros is lost behind a dark cloud and seems dead. But Eros can recover! When couples reveal their undefended reality to their partner, the clouds shift and the sun comes out again. Eros returns!
Most couples are terrified to reveal how much they care for each other and are very afraid of abandonment. So afraid, in fact, that some would rather create a way to leave the relationship, physically or emotionally, than feel (and express!) their fears, sadness, and anger!
In this Psycho-Spiritual Couples Intensive we go deep quickly. First we work to understand the role of the Mask, the “idealized self images” that both people have. We talk about how the mask was created in childhood to stay safe and please our care takers. Couples learn how they use their mask today to stay safely away from deep feelings and try to appease their partner. But the mask now kills the energy of the present. It dampens down spontaneity, precludes authentic, intimate connection and dams the flow of love!
Couples learn to take the risk of being without their masks, and work to keep them off.
It is refreshing to discover that it opens the energy between them and instead of creating the abandonment they fear – being unmasked brings new life into the relationship!
In the work together we work to be real but keep it lighthearted. There are tears and laughter. There is fun, and fear while digging into their dark wounded places. I support their opening and risk-taking. By taking risks couples experience the possibility of further expansion. Afterward there is relief. Joy! New feelings of love and the juicy feelings of their long lost sexuality begin to emerge.
At the end of three brilliant and tiring days Candace and Roland felt closer than they had for the past decade.
Candace soon wrote me a note. “Pam, you have saved our marriage! Thank you!”