Core Energetics is a body-oriented psychotherapy that seeks to unify all aspects of our humanity, emotional, physical, mental and spiritual. In Core Energetics, healthy functioning is characterized by balanced flow of energy through the body, emotions, mind, will and the spirit, the five fundamental levels of being. This energy is similar to the chi of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Indian prana energy and Reichian orgone energy. When energy flows evenly and unobstructed, there is health and optimal functioning. When the energy is weak, or blocked, health is lacking. Such deficiencies can be seen in areas of the body where there is too much or too little energy. Affecting not only the body, energy dysfunctions can also impact the psychological functioning, and result in the character structure types found in Reichian Characterology.
The Core Energetics approach to personal growth is an eclectic blend of energy and consciousness theory which was developed by John Pierrakos M.D. in 1971 and is a further refinement of Bioenergetics (Bioenergetics Analysis), which was developed by Alexander Lowen M.D. and John Pierrakos. Lowen and Pierrakos, both psychoanalysts, were clients and then students of Wilhelm Reich M.D (who originally developed Reichian Theory). After studying with Reich, they added their own refinements to Reich’s discoveries and principles to produce the systematic therapy that became known as Bioenergetics and was then further developed into Core Energetics.
Core Energetics therapy focuses on working with energy blocks and deficiencies in the body via physical exercises and breathing techniques. The goals of such interventions are tailored to the client and may include grounding energy, clearing blocked energy, or increasing/decreasing energy in various parts of the body. This therapy process focuses on integrating the body, emotions, mind, will/intent, and spiritual self into one’s personality. Combining bodywork, psychotherapy, and the spiritual component can activate a greater consciousness and assists clients in getting through the layers of energy to be able to reconnect with their core and innate capacity to love.
The main premise of Core Energetics theory is that core of the individual person, stripped of all its masks, pretensions and ego antics, is the inner essence and life energy of the person. In childhood, repeated patterns of feelings create specific patterns of muscular tension and weakness in the physical body which relate to trapped emotional memory. These habitual patterns become largely unconscious as we adopt them and then use them later in life to meet our needs.
The following Core Energetics layers illustrates the layers of our energy and defence systems:
The Higher Self (Core) is a pulsing, moving energy of life. This is our Life Force which seeks constantly to expand and grow. When in touch with this part of ourselves we feel compassion and love for our fellow creatures and ourselves. ‘Core’ refers to our true authentic self, where the inner impulse and the outer expression of this are the same.
The Lower Self (Shadow Self/Primal Wound) arises due to violations of the core. When we are hurt, rejected, or violated we feel anger, hate and rage. When a child’s needs are not met, there is an organismic reaction of terror and rage. This is the development of the Lower Self. The child learns quickly that this Lower Self reaction is unacceptable and must negate this part of himself, in order to survive and keep parental love. This energy becomes stagnant and produces the next layer of defence, which becomes the physical armouring. Core Energetics sees the shadow as a part of the core of life. The shadow contains primitive, undifferentiated life force, a power which is disowned and needs to be integrated into the personality.
Physical Armouring are the ways of protecting that become patterns of holding the physical energy which creates blocks in the physical body. For example, fear can unconsciously elicit held breath and raised shoulders. If this happens often enough a person develops permanent holding patterns and tension which are clearly evident in the body.
The Social Mask (False/Idealised Self) is a protective layer consisting of character defences which block the flow of the child’s true essence, both Lower Self and Higher Self. It goes unconscious, leaving the individual cut off from his true essence and identifying himself with the Mask later in life. It is what we pretend to be so that our caretakers and later society will accept us, but it is not our authentic self. The mask dampens the vibrancy and buoyancy of the life centre.
Core Energetics is one of the modalities implemented as part of our Integrative Body Mind Psychotherapy™ toolkit. Some aspects of our Private Therapy, Workshops, Retreats and Process Groups incorporate Core Energetics Therapy in Perth Western Australia WA.