by Pamela L Chubbuck, PhD ©2007
Oh! Did you see the national news in December that told of a young mother being kicked off a Delta airplane by the stewardess, in Burlington, VT for discreetly breastfeeding her baby, in her seat? Her husband was in the seat next to her. I was horrified! I wondered what had happened to the stewardess in her childhood to disconnect her from such a basic natural human function. My guess is that she had not been breastfed.
I was happy to learn that La Leche League in Vermont staged a “Nurse-In” at the Delta counter in Burlington shortly thereafter. I have a lovely image of a group of young mothers nursing their babies in front of that Delta counter. Delta did apologize, as well they should. That news article prompted me to write to Delta, sign a petition and now to write this article. Later I discover another article more shocking. Read on.
I began my career first as a La Leche League Leader, then midwife before I became a psychologist and international trainer of The Core Energetics Evolutionary Process. I am experienced in the joys of breastfeeding having breastfed my three sons; two of them weaned themselves, one of whom can remember his breastfeeding experience. When I worked at Georgetown University Hospital in the early 70’s, one of my jobs was to teach nurses and doctors about breastfeeding and assist brand new nursing mothers.
Breastfeeding is the most natural and essential of connections that human beings have. And many humans in westernized countries are being deprived of their birthright often because mothers don’t have enough correct information. But when people are deprived of the right to breastfeeding because of patriarchal misinformation and institutional prejudice, those of us who understand need to take strong action fast.
Preserving Healthy Traditions
Natural long-term breastfeeding for baby is the gold standard by which we measure natural healthy babies and the children they become. Long term breastfeeding means child-led weaning. The average time world-wide for mothers to nurse babies is 2 ½ to 3 years. But sadly as the western cultural norm spreads throughout the world, this average time is shortening. What normal mothers in loving, indigenous tribal cultures do could teach us some good ways to better raise healthy children who grow into healthy adults. Read one of my favorite books, The Continuum Concept, by journalist Jean Leidloff. She spent over a year living with and studying one of those tribes and writing about her experience. It’s fascinating!
Less than three months of breastfeeding is the no rm for American mothers who pitifully must go back to work after 6 weeks of leave time. This is mainly because of our distorted cultural priorities that put stuff before healthy children. It’s also because we are the only “modern” nation in the world that refuses to adopt a national Family Policy. What is this doing to our children who are deprived of this exceptional nutrition, immunization, and contact with their mothers? And what of the adults?
Remembering the Many Benefits of Breastfeeding
Benefits for Babies
Most of you know the health benefits of breastfeeding: human milk is perfect for human babies made so by millions of years of genetic changes for the purpose of the human species to prosper well. Before a mother’s milk “comes in” she produces a thick creamy substance called colostrum. This assists in baby’s first bowel movement and therefore fends off jaundice; gives baby essential antibodies and keeps baby from getting many infant illnesses such as colds, diarrhea, and most illnesses the older children and adults bring home from school or office. After a few days milk changes to what appears thin and bluish. If a mother is not educated she may worry that this is not rich enough to sustain her baby. Human milk has more protein and less fat than cow’s milk, and is just right to grow brains that are the most intelligent of earth’s species. Cow’s milk, Mother Nature made perfect for calves so that they stand up and walk within minutes after they are born. Cows are not very smart, but they need to keep up with the herd for their survival. Human babies grow their brains for many months before they have to get up and walk, and mother’s milk is perfect for them. Forty one years ago my eldest son, at age 4, walked over to a young mother bottle feeding her baby at the playground near our house, looked her straight in her eyes and proclaimed nonchalantly, “Cow’s milk is for cows.”
The best studies have told us for many years now that breast fed babies are physically healthier. Breast milk is virtually always available, sterile, portable, and the right temperature. It comes in nice containers too. (Read La Leche League’s best book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, written over 45 years ago and updated regularly.)
Essential Benefits for Human Brain Health Start Before Birth
Mother feeling safe, cared for during pregnancy birth and when her infant is young, helps her care for her baby in a way that creates normal brain health. Breast feeding is essential for optimal brain health. Among the many perfectly designed, essential for human babies, ingredients in human mother’s milk, is Tryptophan. It is one of the many crucial elements that are absent in formula milk. Tryptophan is an amino acid which is a precursor of brain serotonin. Serotonin is essential for healthy brain function. Since human babies have brains that grow enormously fast in the first two years of life, and calves (goats, sheep [soybeans?!] etc) do not, (their clove- hoof- bodies need milk to create the ability to stand immediately after birth, walk within the first hour of birth and soon run from predators) it makes sense that human milk should be fed to human babies unless there is no human milk available.
James Prescott PhD, Neuro-Psychologist, formerly with The National Institute of Child Health and Human Services in Washington DC, well known for his cutting edge studies on human bonding and breastfeeding, researched violence among over 50 of the world’s cultures over thirty years ago. Dr Prescott tells us that In major studies, it is now well known that a Serotonin deficit creates problems in human subjects. Depression and violence is present when mother love, mother bonding and breastfeeding are absent. The damage to human children is done in the first weeks, months and years if there is lack of what they need most.
Prescott says that the human brain needs what breast milk contains and the breastfeeding experience of holding, movement and what we call love, does to assist the brain to be healthy. Children who are breastfed and lovingly carried and held close to mother’s body for the usual two plus years for the most part become adults who are calm, and peaceful. Breastfeeding, positive sensory stimulation, and physical affectional bonding, insures normal brain development, Prescott tells us.
Babies who do not get what they need often become depressed and more alarming, violent. Prescott thinks that this explains the epidemic of deprived infants who grow up to become children who kill children without remorse or feeling. By not supporting mothers to stay home and nurture their babies our culture is creating more psychopaths and sociopaths, who do heinous acts without consciousness he believes.
Nurturing our mothers to feel safe, stay home, be taken care of by our governmental system will enable them to raise healthy children who become healthy adults. Working to change rules so mothers and fathers can stay at home with their young children must become one of the top a priorities in out nation.
Benefits for Moms
Breastfeeding benefits mothers also. Because baby’s sucking stimulates uterine contractions, there is less bleeding right after birth and mother’s uterus goes back to its original size more quickly than woman who bottle feed. Breastfeeding women generally get back into healthy physical shape more quickly than their bottle feeding sisters. And in the long run women who have breastfed have less incidence of breast cancer.
Breastfeeding offers huge psychological advantages as well. On an emotional level women who breast feed bond more deeply with their infants and make very caring mothers. The kind of mothers who will fight off saber toothed tigers to keep their kids safe. There is good reason nature wants mothers and babies to connect in this healthy way. Basic…Survival of the species
There is less postpartum depression among women who breast feed. Breastfeeding produces hormones that keep moms feeling good. Oxytocin, sometimes known as the bonding or love hormone, is made more so by breastfeeding mothers. Oxytocin is also present during sexual intercourse creating a bonding that helps keep couples together so that they stay together to best raise their offspring. Again an important survival mechanism. Candace Pert, PhD, internationally known neuro-biologist, thinks that the strongest hormones in human beings are the ones that create loving bonding for Families. Breastfeeding mothers also create more opioids, natural morphine-like chemicals that create good feelings and enhance bonding, and other chemicals such as endorphins that are all about pleasure. No wonder breastfeeding moms and breastfed babies are so serene most of the time.
A mom who feels good is better able to feel good with her baby. They are a nursing couple who merge together in a state of real pleasure and contentment. It has been shown that when one has pleasure negative thoughts and feelings are at bay. (See James Prescott PhD’s — past psychologist with NIMH– research on pleasure, touch, bonding and aggression) Breastfed babies are usually content and feel safe. These psychological advantages of feeling truly safe and secure are essential for human babies to grow into mentally and spiritually healthy human adults.
Breastfed babies enjoy long “in-arms” time with mommy. They have more skin contact and eye contact…both vitally important for attachment and trust. The eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, and gazing into a baby’s eyes and baby looking at mommy is one human connection to the blissful state, that baby experiences. The other is in the mouth-nipple contact that baby makes with mother. Very like the connection baby has intrauterine with umbilical cord and placenta connecting to mother where baby is always fed and therefore feels more secure. The blissful state currently written about in neuro-biology, tells us about the endorphins and peptides that are in the human brain and body when people experience what they term their “spiritual experience” are the same we experience in sex and other blissful states such as deep meditation. (Read internationally known, scientist and brain researcher, Candace Pert, PhD’s Molecules of Emotion and her latest, book, Everything you Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d).
Baby’s mouth intimately contacts the mother’s nipple as milk and nurturing energy flow from mother into baby. Baby at mother’s breast is exactly the right distance for the newborn to be able to focus on mother’s face. The eye contact baby and mother make throughout the breastfeeding time is essential. It’s about love, the kind you can see and experience. Sometimes nursing is Mommy’s first awareness of human merging with this blissful state we sometimes call God as well. (For wonderful images see Alex Grey’s amazing anatomic and energetic painting of a mother breastfeeding her baby in his beautiful book, Sacred Mirrors).
Breast fed babies get touched more often and longer. In baby-led nursing baby learns to connect and to feel accepted and cared about deeply. This creates a trusting loving environment that in turn creates a trusting, loving, and kind child who can develop into a loving kind adult. Babies who are held close to caretaker’s body including sleeping in arms have much lower incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It is thought that baby regulates her breathing pattern, and regulates her heartbeat with those patterns of Mommy’s, which baby sleeping alone cannot do. Many Indigenous mothers and fathers sleep with and carry their babies at all times, until the baby wants to get down. Babies are not left alone, held in plastic seats, cribs and chairs or observed over closed circuit TV.
Breastfeeding works on a supply and demand system, therefore Mom must feed baby when Baby indicates hunger. Consistently. This way Baby learns that another human will fulfill her basic food needs when they arise….when Baby needs food. The life sustaining elixir will not be forthcoming only when Mother wants to produce it (after her hair appointment, or washing up the dishes after lunch or when the clock says, the pediatrician prescribes, or mother-in-law demands.) By having this life or death need met, the baby grows into a child who experiences the greater world as safe or at least benign.
Tradition Backed By Science
Harry F. Harlow, PhD, in his early monkey experiments, in the 1950’s, showed that baby monkeys preferred soft cloth milk-less mother dolls to wire dolls that did provide milk. What may be surprising is that when he then observed that those monkeys that were not breast fed by their mothers, the adolescent/adult monkeys did not know how to copulate. I think that if more babies were breastfed, when grown up, those adults would not experience the frequency of sexual dysfunction that we hear about today. Indeed, in a small qualitative study of mine, with my colleagues as subjects, breastfed adults were more comfortable with their bodies, enjoyed body contact more, and were better kissers and better lovers in general than their non breastfed peers.
Alexander Lowen, MD, co-founder with John C Pierrakos, MD, of Bioenergetic Analysis, talks about the nipple being like a penis and mouth a vagina. Without that early connection sexuality is likely distorted, theorizes Lowen. (Read Lowen’s classic Love and Orgasm.) Wilhelm Reich, MD, the father of body psychotherapy, wrote about the importance of breastfeeding for the mental health of the child. (Read Reich’s book Children of the Future.) Lowen wrote in another classic, now titled The Language of the Body: Physical Dynamics of Character Structure, that breast feeding for three or more years is best for the child and impacts hugely on those later adults’ mental and physical health. Donald Winnicott, MD, famous for his work with mothers and their children, writes that three years of breastfeeding makes for the healthiest children and later adults.
Sexual Dysfunction at an All Time High
Within my practice (and profession) people report sexual dysfunction at an all time high and it is surprisingly and frequently talked about on national daytime television and commercials. Viagra for sale on TV and the internet is a sign that sexual dysfunction is on peoples’ minds. Why? And what to do? We need to look to the cause and bring our focus to remedying the real issue. Lack of body feeling, connection, and intimacy are the most important.
Why Do We Have Problems with True Intimacy?
How did we become a nation of people who are disconnected from our bodies and have trouble feeling our hearts, our loving feelings, leaving so many unable to share true intimacy? It starts with babies and children who are not cared for lovingly in a physical way, with body contact as paramount, simple, natural, and traditional. Mothers who say, “I love you, of course I love you”, but do not have skin to skin contact with their infants are not demonstrating their love and their babies do not feel as loved. The importance of pleasurable skin contact is clear. Love comes with the physical experience, not with the words alone.
Babies learn communication and intimacy skills by interacting with their primary caregiver, first by gazing lovingly into her eyes while she looks upon them with unconditional love. As stated above, babies also need to touch skin and be touched on their bare skin a lot. Skin is the largest organ of the body and it is informed by millions of years of genetic information that says “touch me.” Babies who do not get touched and held die. Period. In the early nineteen hundreds many babies in orphanages in New York and elsewhere died because they were not touched. These babies were fed sufficient amounts of food and kept clean and dry. They died from lack of touch. Babies who are touched and held most are shown to have higher IQs and are more content. Read Touching: The Human Significance of Skin, by Ashley Montagu, which is the prototype for most research on touching worldwide, and a fabulous book.
Being Taught What Nature Intended
And guess what?! Most “modern” mothers do not know how to best give the unconditional love in this gift of life we call breastfeeding and loving natural pleasurable touch. And mostly it is not their fault. Their mothers probably did not breastfeed at all or were not able to do so with joy and pleasure. These women were not touched with unconditional love. Even physicians do not usually understand some of the basic principles of breastfeeding that all dairy farmers around the world do and must know. That milk production is based on how much sucking stimulation there is. In other words breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. Baby needs milk, sucks, and milk is produced. Voilà.
In the early 1970’s I was a counselor/educator in the neonatal department at Georgetown University Hospital, a prestigious teaching hospital in Washington DC, USA. One of the things I taught new mothers and medical students, nurses and residents of neonatology, was breastfeeding information. Nurses get little information about breastfeeding. Medical students generally get very little information about breastfeeding, and receive over 10 times more bottle feeding information. Thus we have created pediatricians and general family physicians who feel more comfortable with bottle feeding than breast feeding. They can see, measure and regulate bottle feeding and regulating is something doctors are taught to do. Regulating in this way is not natural, necessary, or desirable for the best overall outcome for the everyone.
Too few women have been taught by role modeling to use their bodies as nature intended. After all, breasts evolved over millennium to nurture babies! A colleague reported to me his experience in graduate school recently when a young woman in her mid twenties, a fellow student, learned that human breasts are for feeding human babies. She was shocked! “You mean breasts are like cows’ udders”! She exclaimed in a horrified voice. My friend was amazed that anyone could make it to the age of 26 without knowing that breasts are for feeding babies! I have met several women in the USA that have never observed a mother breastfeeding her baby.
Men and women in our culture are taught that breasts are sexual and primarily for sexual pleasure and women think breasts are for attracting men. This is very sad and concerning to me.
The following is an excerpt of a true news article and is adapted from “Breastfeeding a Crime?” by Linda Folden Palmer
Two children were taken away from their parents after a photo of a 12-month-old baby with his lips on his mother’s nipple was developed at a local drug store and then reported to authorities by the shop’s clerk. No experts were consulted, no evaluations were made, the children were simply whisked away and the parents charged with the second-degree felony of “sexual performance of a minor.”
According to the Dallas Observer, after responding to the photo clerk’s alert, Richardson police in Texas reportedly considered the pictures to contain sexuality. A Child Protective Services supervisor, without any information beyond the photos, ordered the children to be removed from their home.
The story goes on and is horrifying because people who were not educated, had serious bias and in my opinion, sexual distortion, managed to have children removed from good parents because of an innocent photo showing mom breastfeeding a 12 month old. Fifty parents wrote letters and many parents sent their own breastfeeding photos to the authorities. When the story hit the national news the parents got their kids back pronto. But what a sad state of affairs! Severe pain has been created by ignorance and distorted sexual beliefs. Linda Palmer calls it a run-in between Bible Belt Texans and natural innocent Peruvian parents.
In our culture many girls watch extreme plastic surgery TV shows like The Swan, which teach girls by example that however they look is not good enough. Many women on these shows have breast augmentation to feel OK. Sex is flashed on MTV and in other media while loving connection, family caring, touch between children and adults is seen infrequently or not at all. I have known mothers who because of some religious beliefs hide their children’s eyes when loving physical contact is shown between a man and woman on TV or a movie, but allow these same children to watch human beings being shot, beaten, blown up and obviously killed. This truly distorted behavior and belief gives our children a message that killing is normal but loving sex is not. A mother breastfeeding a baby on prime time TV? Let me know when and where you have seen that please.
Mothers Who Don’t Breastfeed Suffer Too
Women who do not breastfeed do not receive the clear physical and deep but subtle and lasting psychological benefits that breastfeeding provides. Not having an extended period of breastfeeding her child cheats mothers out of a natural experience that that will open her to feeling and experiencing her normal bodily functions. The act of giving birth naturally opens an amazing and perfect opportunity to experience emotional and spiritual growth. Similar to the act of giving birth– which blasts energy through mother’s body connecting her to the earth-nature-all of life-and her deepest self — breastfeeding more gently focuses energy inward toward a mother’s body and heart and opens her to her deep soulfulness. During the act of breastfeeding a woman enters a most sacred woman-space. From this deep place she focuses on her baby, touching the smooth softness of baby’s skin, gazing deeply into her beautiful eyes and receiving the gentle sweetness of her unique face. This profound connection opens Mother’s heart and she feels love in a way she never experienced before. This is a sacred journey.
Mothers Who Must Work
Because of economic difficulties exacerbated by a culture uneducated or uncaring about the mental health of our children, many women must work to support or help support their families. Women need to be educated about the many physical and emotional benefits that breastfeeding provides their children long term. Therapists and other support people can help by encouraging a mother to continue breastfeeding as long as possible. To take as long a leave time to bond and care for her infant as possible, and to understand that some sacrifices now, such as waiting for a new TV, car and new clothes, will be vastly beneficial to the baby now and in his or her future. If Mother must leave her baby she can be taught to pump her breasts so that her baby continues to receive the best nourishment possible while she is away. Mothers can then nurse when at home and hold, carry, cuddle and sleep with their infants when not working. This is essential for good bonding.
Every caretaker that is with the infant while mother is working must be chosen for her warm and caring qualities as well as her ability to care for the baby on a practical level. The care giver must be encouraged to hold, carry, touch, talk to and make eye contact with the baby every day throughout the time Baby is in her care.
Caregivers Unable to Nurse
Some very few mothers can’t breastfeed their babies due to a medical condition. Obviously if mothers don’t have breasts, have TB or AIDS, they can’t or should not breastfeed. A relatively rare genetic syndrome, such as polycystic ovary disease (estimated at 7% of the population) may make it difficult to produce enough milk. Some babies have primary caregivers other than birth mother such as adoptive and foster moms, or kin in the mother role. In these situations, mothers or other caregivers can give the baby plenty of skin to skin contact; sleep with them and hold them close; take baths with them, and carry their babies on their back or front as they go about day to day chores. When giving the bottle they can hold the baby close, look into Baby’s eyes, and touch their bare skin and allow and encourage them to touch them.
Case Examples Involving Lack of Breast Feeding/ Early Physical Bonding
Fred, a handsome professional man in his early thirties, recently experienced what he called his primal wound in a deep Core Energetics session. Fred complained of never being able to really connect intimately for long with a woman. He picked inappropriate women and even when he wanted to change their relationship or leave altogether he held on and became angry and jealous. He “went nuts,” becoming furious, a few times even though in his mind he knew the best thing would be to end and look for a more appropriate partner.
In his session it became clear that he had early deprivation and lack of breastfeeding went along with that. His mother was hospitalized after his birth for 4 months during which his father took care of him. Fred rejected his mother when she returned home, and refused to take the bottle from her. He continued to reject her, no doubt causing her pain and concern. As Fred grew, he was told his fist word was Daddy. Fred told me that intellectually he was not attracted to any particular part of a women, he desired a whole healthy integrated relationship. He realized however that he had been always attracted unconsciously to women with large breasts.
One woman he described having a short relationship with, was not really a women he wanted to be with long term, but he felt safe and secure, and slept better than usual, while lying with his face next to her breasts.
I met another man I’ll call Will, while teaching Core Energetics in California. I was doing an exercise with the whole group but I was paired momentarily with Will. Something shocking occurred when suddenly with no warning Will had me by the throat with the look of murder in his eyes. I looked him in those eyes and choked out “Will, it’s me, Pam. Let go! ” Just as suddenly he realized what he was doing and let go. Immediately he sobbed deeply. He was sorry, he said.
In working with this experience with the assistance of the whole training group, Will told me that he was afraid to be near his infant nephew because he had images of strangling a baby. This frightened him a lot and he was ashamed to tell anyone about his feeling. I encouraged him to tell me about the baby that was inside him, and what had happened to that baby after he was born or at birth.
Will said that a short time after his birth his mother became seriously ill and was bedridden in the room next to the one he occupied alone. He was cared for by a rigid aunt, his mother’s sister who only held him when she fed him. Most often he lay in his crib with great painful longing for his mother, he recalled in an abreaction. It was excruciatingly painful to be so close yet so far from her arms and he choked himself off when he experienced over and over that crying never brought the relief he sought — to be held and nursed by his mother. He choked his feelings off and continued to feel choked in his adulthood. His pain became fury as he helplessly awaited a care taker to love and nurture him. At that moment in the group process I described above, he transferred his past pain to me and I became both the desired nurturing mother figure and the hated torturer. He instantly “snapped’ and wanted to strangle me.
Years later Will reported happily, that he never had the urge to strangle a baby again. Will got married and has a son of his own who was breastfed by his wife. Will carried, held and nurtured his son at every possible chance. The baby grew well and is now a very happy contented child.
A client I’ll call George wanted to be tied up during sex so that he could not move. He wanted to get over that because although stimulating he found it also painful emotionally. Besides, his wife didn’t really like it. She said, “Then he can’t touch me, and that doesn’t feel good to me.” In working with his sexual issue we discovered that he not only had not been breastfed, his mother was quite frightened about her own body and he never remembered seeing her without all her clothes on and did not remember ever really being allowed to touch her. As a child he longed to touch his mother but then became cut off and angry. He stopped his painful feelings to the point where he would not allow himself to want to touch her or be touched by her.
Unconsciously George re-played this out in sex with his wife. He longed to touch her and could not, making it both arousing and painful. After re-experiencing his pain about not being physically nurtured by his mother he lost his desire to be tied up during sex.
What Else Happens to Adults Deprived as Infants?
Adults who were deprived of breastfeeding and did not receive enough sucking time in general, become adults who are always, albeit unconsciously, seeking the breast. Oral deprivation takes on many habits that somehow mirror the breastfeeding experience. Adults, who unconsciously want to suck, do suck — but they suck on cigarettes, candy, beer bottles, suck soda and other liquids through straws, they chew gum, chew their finger nails, and talk a lot, and sometimes even still suck their thumbs. I saw an adult woman on an airplane recently sucking her thumb while sleeping.
All of these habits in some way use the mouth, tongue and lips in similar ways a baby sucks at the breast. These are forms of self soothing that would normally come from the infant’s mouth being in contact with mother’s nipple.
Baby also is soothed by touching mother’s skin and hair. Babies who are not allowed to touch mother’s smooth skin will touch their own hair and may become adults who twirl their hair unconsciously. These babies who want to touch mother’s soft skin must settle with touching themselves or feeling a soft toy or blanket. You may remember the image of Linus, in the famous American cartoon “Peanuts”. Linus had his blanket with him always and when his mother washed it he would stand outside at the clothesline and hold a corner of his blanket while it dried. When mother is not or can not be the soother the baby transfers his desire to someone or something inanimate.
Psychology calls those things transitional objects. The transition is from mother to object. I knew one little boy who was weaned too early directly to a cup (that was the taught technique for a while in the 60’s) who chewed paper from napkins for over a year. Transition away from mother is certainly not a transition that should be made too early, and much better when the transition is from mother to another human being. Babies who are supported by touch and breastfeeding are adults who grow up and find another adult to love and bond with in intimate relationship.
Adult Relationships Based on Early Deprivation
Early deprivation of the breast and mother figure wreaks havoc on the person’s adult relationships. The deprived adult seeks someone to take care of him or her, often taking on the role of caretaker in order to have someone love them. The term co-dependence fits very well for this person; meaning they will put the other before self to the detriment of self. “I love you so much I will take your abuse…just don’t leave me.”
Both men and women who have been deprived of early nurturing, usually pick bad partners. These partners are often demanding, cruel, and controlling. But the deprived child, now living in the adult body, tries to change to please them, to try to keep a relationship that they feel is better than no relationship at all, and thus giving up their true inner self. Giving up your inner self creates a situation where a person is not able to be content in life or to find their own deeply satisfying and spiritual work in the world. In losing their core, their true self, they spend a life devoid of deep personal meaning. They are too afraid to feel the pain of the deprivation they experienced as infants and toddlers. This is even more tragic because feeling that pain now is the gateway to their healing and freedom as adults.
How Psychotherapists Can Help
What can practitioners of Core Energetics do to best assist clients? What can you as a client tell your therapist to help you? Therapists; please ask clients if they were breastfed in your intake paperwork and interview. If they answer yes, ask: how long were you breastfed? Please don’t forget to put that information into your mind and heart when creating strategy to assist the healing process of your clients.
The dilemma of deprivation takes a particularly kind, gentle, grounded and clear intervention. These are issues that must be dealt within the bodymind as they reach into the cellular memory. Sadness and rage must be felt and released from the bodymind. The therapist must have the ability to nurture unconditionally and teach the client to eventually stand on his or her own two feet in order to compassionately take care of the infant and toddler within.
But what if you weren’t breastfed or held and have transference with your client about his or her early needs? Perhaps you want to touch a client to get your touch needs met, or can’t tolerate feeling your client’s needs. You may avoid the entire issue of early deprivation or keep your client at arms’ length so you won’t feel your own pain. This is a huge issue for practitioners and is a challenging problem if not addressed in oneself. You can not fake clear, grounded unconditional care for your client. If you suspect any of these issues are yours, get some help. Go back into therapy and talk to your supervisor about what is happening right away.
Clients, Be Alert to Your Early History
Please be sure to tell your therapist about your earliest infant nurturing experience. Think about these questions for yourself and your own understanding: Were you breastfed? How long? Who took care of you the first year of your life? Was your mother at home or working? From what you know about your mother now, do you think she held and carried you? Did you sleep in her or your parent’s bed? Have skin to skin contact? Does/did your mother like her own body? Is your mother comfortable with her body? Were your parents physically demonstrative of love and affection?
Core Energetics Therapists
Core Energetics Therapists are taught to pay attention to body typology and what the body of the client tells about his/her history. Lack of breastfeeding and early bonding shows up in the body. Almost always, the client has clear body signs of lack of intimate nurturing, lack of being held close to the chest of the mother or care giver. Some of these physical signs are a thin collapsed physical structure, eyes alive but seductively needy, and weak legs. Sometimes a rigid body and attitude cover up the neediness underneath. People figuratively and sometimes literally, have difficulty standing up for themselves because of not having enough energy = nurturing as infants to create that strength.
Some of the issues that lack of nurturing create are what Core Energetics calls character type, and one type is the deprived person who has fear of being abandoned, lacks trust of another, is disconnected from his or her real needs, refuses to ask for what they want, is co-dependent, has feelings of weakness, can be very demanding, acts aloof, and may be terrified of the very thing he/she longs for — intimacy.
Skillful seasoned therapists work with these basic issues and what they create in the client’s life in adult years.
Core Energetics Heals
Core Energetics works physically and energetically with the lack of breastfeeding, lack of physical nurturing issue. Techniques are taught to students of Core Energetics within the Core Energetics Institute South Training Program that create therapists who are experienced and competent to work with this and other deep psychophysical issues. Students of The Core Energetics Evolutionary Process first must deal with their own feelings, blocks and character defenses in their bodyminds. Core Energetics Therapists work on themselves before they work on others.