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Core Energetics is a system of body-oriented psychotherapy which labels itself as a bridge between psychology and spirituality. It focuses on a holistic process involving an extended concept of consciousness encompassing body - emotion - mind and spirit. It is a mode of healing that combines bodywork, psychotherapy, and spiritual process, to activate the greater consciousness dwelling within a person, in this proprietary system called the CORE. Unlike conventional psychiatric or medical therapies, Core Energetics views the spiritual dimension of life as an essential component in the process of recovery and growth. John Pierrakos, MD, Core Energetics founder, said that Core Energetics is an education to inner reality.
The core of Core Energetics
Core is an acronym for Center Of Right Energy. The Core is energy, love or soul. Core Energetics works to unblock energies that keep us from connecting to our CORE selves. In order to come from our true CORE we must 1, find our false self and reveal the mask we hide behind. 2, we must express our wounded ness by feeling and expressing all our feelings including fear, hate, and pain. Feeling our feelings is the way we may transform them to love. 3, physically work with our bodily defenses that keep us rigidly in our negative patterns. 4, Find beauty and meaning in our life that expresses itself through our positive actions; which is our task in life.
The history of Core Energetics
Core Energetics was developed by John C Pierrakos, MD, co-founder of Bioenergetic Analysis with Alexander Lowen. Dr Pierrakos was a student of Wilhelm Reich, MD who was a student of Freud. Reich came to the United States and Pierrakos came from Greece to study medicine in NY where the two men met. Pierrakos researched the nature of energy and human energy fields that he incorporated with study of eastern traditions and a spiritual discipline called The Pathwork when he created Core Energetics. The Institute for Core Energetics was founded by Pierrakos in 1978 [originally called the Institute for the New Age] and incorportated in 1983. Most forms of body psychotherapy and transpersonal work in the United States are informed by Dr Pierrakos' work.
Core Energetics Theory
Core Energetics is based on the belief that the individual has the innate capacity for love and healing. Adherents of its philosophy believe that like all living things, human beings seek expansion of consciousness which is an outpouring of the "Life Force". As an ideology Core Energetics states that health and true wellbeing are dynamic states and our birthright, and health can be attained by realizing our creative potential. The life force is said to be the impetus that we must experience in our bodies, the body being the vehicle for our emotion, thought, and spirit. Thus Core Energetics is an apporach which combines working with the five levels which is conceived to comprise "human existence in the human entity", these being the physical body, the feelings and emotions, mind and thought, will, and spirit.
John Pierrakos is the first western physician to connect the ancient knowledge of energy and spirituality to the science of new physics and to the current medical practice of psychiatry and psychology.[How to reference and link to summary or text]
Core Energetics theory contends that people block their Life Force mainly because of the wounds they acquire in childhood. It further asserts that at their center people are a pulsating core that is love. This energetic part follows the laws of physics, and seeks to grow and expand. When people are in touch with their CORE they love themselves and their fellow creatures. The next layer is the wounded child, shadow, or lower self of human nature. People block their Life Force when they are not allowed to express their emotional pain, thus the energy becomes stagnant and becomes defensive physical armoring. Next people put on their defensive mask designed to protect themselves from further hurt. This mask or false self dampens down the vibrancy and buoyancy of the life center -- the CORE.
The process of evolutionary work is to unblock defenses, move the stuck energy to create healthy flow, and transform the negative, distorted emotions back to the Core self. The Core Energetics Evolutionary Process supports the person to become more real, joyful, and connected to all of life. Core Energetics tries to teach people to use their positive will, the will of the heart, to live in the present, and have choice in each moment to create their own lives.
The benefits of Core Energetics
Core Energetics claims to teach people about their capacity for self-healing and to launch them on a process of transformation that is ultimately spiritual in nature. This spirituality is said to differ from religiosity.
The system specifically claims to be useful in resolving depression, anxiety, panic attacks, unresolved anger, post-traumatic stress, sexual dysfunction and providing tools troubled marital and familial relationships, making personal and professional changes, and expanding spiritual awareness.
Scientific assessment of the approach
Core Energetics professional training
Core Energetics has international training programs in "The Core Energetics Evolutionary Process". In the United States there are several official training programs in Core Energetics:
- Institute of Core Energetics, New York Region, Kate Holt, Director
- Core Energetics West, California, Seigmar Gerken, PhD, Director
- Institute for the Exceptional Marriage, an embodied approach to couples therapy, Brian & Marcia Gleason, LCSWs
- Seattle School of Body-Psychotherapy, Seattle, Washington, Aylee Welch LICSW, Director
- There are international training programs also in Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada.
Training in Core Energetics requires basic four years post professional of course work and extensive personal therapy. An additional 5th year post-graduate period of class work and supervision is required to teach Core Energetics at most of the training institutes.