© Core Energetics is the energetic bridge between psychology and spirituality. It is a system for personal growth and healing that consciously incorporates mind, emotions, body and spirit in its work. It is Core Energetics’ integration of knowledge of the body’s energy systems and an understanding of the spiritual nature of humankind, that sets it apart and beyond the work of more conventional psychological, medical and body oriented healing therapies. Evolving out of the work of Wilhelm Reich, Core Energetics was developed by psychiatrist John Pierrakos, who built on his previous work as co-creator of Bioenergetic Analysis. Pierrakos was inspired by the work of his wife, Eva, a very gifted teacher for a highly respected internationally known body of spiritual knowledge known as The Pathwork
Core Energetics is a deep process that addresses five levels of existence in the human entity: 1) the physical body, 2) the feelings and emotions, 3) the mind and thought, 4) thewill, and 5) the spirit. Core Energetics uses the pyramid (figure A) to depict these levels. The body is the focus in the healing process, as it sustains life as we know it. The body manifests the energy of every other level as they influence and create the living form. The energy of spirit, interpenetrates and infuses each lower level with life. The figure B shows how most westerners live in a neurotic state of discontent, cut off from their bodies and their spiritual natures. John Pierrakos explains that the thera peutic work of this process is based on the principles that we are in psychosomatic unity, with the capacity to love and to heal within ourselves, and that we desire movement toward creative evolution. To do this we must deeply transform the negative aspects of our personality into a creative whole. The creative potential of our life energy is tremendous. The physical body is the laboratory of life and the vehicle through which we express ouremotions, thoughts and spiritual selves. By working with the body to help confront the defensive reactions of our emotions, we open up the path to our healing.
Many ancient traditional therapies treated people as integrated units. Greek healers treated the body, mind and the spirit. Hippocrates, “The Father of Medicine” taught that God (nature/spirit) healed, while the human physician assisted. Later when Newton described the body as a machine, science separated God from the body. This created a long period in western culture, during which the body was treated as separate from emotions or spirit.
Today psychology is conventionally viewed as a mental science. Wilhelm Reich was the first western psychiatrist to begin to reconnect psyche and soma. Alexander Lowen MD and John Pierrakos MD, students of Reich, co-created bioenergetic analysis which works with body-emotions-mind as a unit. When John Pierrakos created Core Energetics he was the first modern western physician to connect the spiritual nature of the human, to the body, mind and emotions. Modern society continues to facilitate this fragmented existence by compartmentalizing our process of learning and healing. Educators are in charge of the mind; psychologists, the emotions; ministers, the soul; and physicians, the body.
Recent exciting information has been presented in the fields of new physics and new medicine, which tell us we must treat the human entity as an integrated systme of body-mind-emotions-spirit. Findings in the new field of psychoimmunology tell us that science is catching up to what has been practiced in folk cultures for generations-we must treat the whole person to truly heal ourselves.
Core Energetics takes as its premise that the Core of the individual person, stripped of all its masks, pretensions and ego antics, is the soul, and its nature is love-the life energy. Core Energetics believes that love is all there is. Everything else is fear, or the fear of fear. Those fears are distortions and illusions, but they seem to be real and they are preventing us from living spontaneously, and with as much flow and as much love as we would like to live.
The Core Energetic Model (figure C), shows circles which form our layers of energy and defense systems. The center is a pulsing moving energy of life, which we call the Core. This is our Life Force which, following the laws of physics, seeks constantly to expand and to grow. When in touch with this part of ourselves we feel love for our fellow creatures and ourselves. It is our connection to the universe-to our spiritual nature.
The next layer is The Primal Wound. When we are not allowed to protest, or to express our pain, this energy becomes stagnant and will produce the next layer of defense, which becomes the physical armoring. The social mask is what we wear to protect ourselves. It is what we believe are what we should be like, act like, think like; but it is not us. It is what we pretend to be so that our caretakers and later society will accept us. “The mask dampens the vibrancy and buoyancy of the life center.” (Pierrakos) It is shown as the outside layer of dark energy in our model. When negative or painful experiences happen in this life, we create energy blocks, to try to stay safe. We block the movements of energy from the Core of our being into creative expression in the world. The more pain a child experiences, the more extreme are the measures to protect the self and to block the pain, which eventually become patterns of holding the physical energy. This creates blocks in the physical body. For example, fear can unconsciously elicit held breath and raised shoulders. If this happens enough times, a person develops permanent holding patterns which are present in the body and can be seen and worked with by the Core Energetic therapist. These blocks tell where and how to proceed. An important piece in Core Energetics is working with the dark side, called the lower self, that portion of Core Energy that has been blocked and become distorted. In order for wholeness to be regained, the lower self energy needs assistance for exploration and airing-which leads to transformation.
The process of Core Energetics is to transform the negativity and distortions into creative and positive energy. This can be likened to turning on the light in a once scary closet and seeing that the feared monsters are in reality just items of clothing. We don’t show our dark side (or Core) to others, because it is very tender. But they are there and they are quite obvious. The therapist guides the individual to discover in his/her body both repressed feelings and the physical blocks associated with those feelings. Core Energetics includes a lot of body work and energy work, because whatever happens to the child is registered in the body physically. That energy creates the physical body. The Form follows energy in creating our reality. We know by viewing Kirlian photographs, that before a plant grows a new leaf, it shoots out an energy form in the shape of a leaf. The physical leaf then grows into the energy form. Our bodies grow in similar ways. Our emotions, thoughts and beliefs form part of the energy, which the body follows. Genetics is only part of why we look like we do. The process of this evolutionary work therefore is to unblock our defenses, move the stuck energy to create healthy flow and to transform the negative distorted emotions back to the Core Self. By working with the physical body-the body armoring- by transforming the negative emotions of the dark side and by allowing the primal wounds to be expressed. The Core Self can then be experienced as loving, joyful, and connected to all of life. At all times throughout the process, attention to the person’s positive qualities of his or her Core is paramount. Universal spiritual principles are taught and applied. Core Energetics is a process of education to our inner reality- which is love.
In this process, people can expect to work hard; some powerful stuff will happen. They may find that what they thought was going on isn’t what is going on at all. One of the wonderful things about Core Energetics is that when we do look at the body and use the energy in the body, we discover things that have been hidden from awareness. It’s a much faster way of doing that than just through talking therapy. Core Energetics looks for what is going on with the person. What can we do that honors where this person is? Once the person feels comfortable enough, the therapist may work with the breath and with movement. The breath is one of the first things in the body that gets traumatized. For many people, once they start breathing, feelings will begin to be released. Then the work is to get them to move, to see what is happening with the energy, then to help them unblock the physical blocks. That’s done with physical movements and by the therapist putting her or his hands on the body to help them allow energy to flow once again. Although Core Energetics is relatively new, people all over the world are seeking it’s healing powers. There are training programs, in the Core Energetic Evolutionary Process, all over the US, Canada and several European countries.
A Core Energetic training program for professionals began in Atlanta in the fall of 1997. The Core Energetic therapist is trained in traditional analysis, human development, other traditional therapeutic modalities transference/counter transference issues, as well as in energy analysis.
He or she studies for at least four years in addition to a professional degree. That study includes anatomy, physiology, human energy theory, Reichian theory, Bioenergetics, Core Energetics and spirituality. Graduation requires extensive personal therapy and supervision. Healing happens through love- getting closer to our source, feeling whole, and in balance. To be in balance we must have all our energy centers (chakras) open. When our energy is open and flowing we connect to the earth and to our bodies, we can also think, feel and be connected to spirit. Then the veil between the physical and spiritual begins to melt. I think everyone comes to this work for a reason. The soul decides, at some level, that the time to do this work is now.