What is Core Energetics?
by Lisa Loustaunau, MFA, CCEP
Academic Director, Institute of Core Energetics
Norwalk CT – October 2009
Core Energetics was developed in the early 1970’s by the late Dr. John Pierrakos M.D. John had been a mentee of Wilhelm Reich and later founded Bioenergetics with Alexander Lowen. After meeting Eva Broch, the gifted channel of the Pathwork lectures, who later became his wife, he integrated the spiritual concepts of the Pathwork with the body psychotherapy techniques of Bio-energetics and Core Energetics was born.
Core Energetics, which bridges body psychotherapy and Spirituality is based on three tenets; 1) that an individual is a psychosomatic unity. 2) that healing lies within, and 3) that all of life of which we are a part moves toward creative evolution. In his book “Core Energetics” John said that “every part of the human person, from the structure of the body, to the clarity of perception, is molded by internal energy.” (Pierrakos, p 13) This life force, this energy of which we are molded and of which we are a part, is meant to flow freely and to pulsate with aliveness. The experience of this free and natural pulsation is one of pleasure and presence.
Life Energy also has a qualitative aspect, it has direction and purpose, it is imbued and is inseparable from consciousness. Everything is consciousness “from the smallest subatomic particle yet to be discovered, to the totality of being, the macrocosm”. ( p.16) The phrase “Pleasure and Fulfillment Through Energy and Consciousness,” for many years a motto of Core Energetics is based on these principles.
Human development, from embryo to adult, is a process of embodiment that takes the individual through a series of stages in consciousness in which one comes to know oneself within the polarities of unity and separation. The successful completion of each stage of development, which brings about an expansion of consciousness with a new sense of oneself in a body and in relationship to self and others, is dependent upon a positive experience where the primary needs of the growing child are adequately met.
When primary needs, which include holding, support, attunement, nourishment, autonomy, etc., are not adequately met, for whatever the reasons, the organism survives the loss and pain by making energetic accomodations within their own body. The nature of these accomodations will depend upon the developmental stage the child has reached and the motor control of which they are capable. These accomodations, defenses, are survival strategies which serve to protect the developing child from the pain of its experience, but they also distort the natural energy flow and pulsation of the body.
Defenses are not just psychological, they are somatic. The psychological aspects, the attendant behavior and attitudes that form a part of a defense are an outgrowth of the somatic energetic defense. The energetic defense takes root in the tissues of the body, even affecting subsequent growth, and will change the form the body takes. These defenses, energy blocks, are observable in the body of the adult, and reveal aspects of our history, which we may not even be entirely conscious of. In fact, a direct effect of the blocks in the body is a diminishment of consciousness.
Core Energetic work opens the blocks to free the life force, which brings with it an increase of energy as well as awareness. It would seem this would be something everyone would want, however, in reality we often have resistance to this process. As humans our instinct is to avoid pain and discomfort, to stay within our “comfort zone”, even if what we call our comfort zone is filled with suffering, it is nevertheless a “known suffering”. To take a journey, to grow, means to go beyond our comfort zone, to engage the unknown, the unconscious, and to have experiences and feelings we may have learned were too dangerous to feel. To feel the lacks of our childhood is painful, to feel our organismic rage (usually repressed and which feels dangerous), actually reconnects us to an energy supply which was previously unavailable to us, precisely because it was repressed and held. In Core Energetics we work witht his powerful energy, ground and integrate it.
We do this, not in the interest of blaming our caregivers, that is not the point at all. We do this to re-connect with the truth of our experience exactly as it was, to feel the disowned feelings, to express what could not be expressed, and in doing so, to take ownership of the energy which we had to disown because at the time it was too painful and our ego could not integrate it. Interestingly we discover that what we imagined we had to avoid at all costs, turns out to be an illusion. We do not die with the pain, or the feelings, or the consciousness, but quite the contrary, we come through to the other side, t-r-a-n-s-f-o-r-m-e-d, feeling more courageous and more alive than we were before.
Not only are we more alive and more empowered, we also have a greater range of feelings and we don’t get stuck in any of them. As energy courses through the body, it opens the centers, the chakras, and in particular the Heart, that which we believed we needed to protect. As energy flows freely in and through the body we become more grounded and present to what is. Life becomes joyous not because there is no pain in living, of course there is, but because we can cry freely when we feel it, and not hold on to it once it flows through us. We experience joy because we come to trust ourselves in our grounded sense of self and truth as we feel and express our feelings.
This in turn creates connection, deepens intimacy with others and enriches the quality of our contact. We feel a greater connectedness to all life as the life force within is in continual open exchange with the universal energy field. We are inspired and we experience pleasure in its pure form, and in the fullness of our embodiment. We can laugh more heartily, love more passionately, and live more dynamically.
This is the promise of the Core Energetic journey. Pleasure, fulfillment, joy, these are not empty words, not a promise of a pain-free life. Life has its pain which cannot and should not be avoided. What we can change however is our suffering. The suffering we experience when our energy is fragmented, depleted, or held. The physical work of Core Energetics is powerful because breaking through long-held defenses is not a matter of talking them away. The work of Core Energetics is integrative, it unifies mind, body, emotions, sexuality, will, and Spirit. The work of Core Energetics will change your life.