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Do you ever notice how we sometimes get stuck repeating the same patterns or mistakes over and over again? Unresolved trauma can lead to dysfunctional habits that inhibit personal growth and keep us going back down the same path. It’s frustrating when we know that we have a wellspring of healing and positive energy within us, but something prevents us from accessing it. Core Energetics can help you harness this inner potential and experience the life you were meant to live through the process of transformation and self-discovery.

Core Energetics is a mind-body psychotherapy that can help break the cycle of harmful trauma patterns by bringing awareness to our inner selves. It is a holistic approach to healing that explores the blocked, fragmented or held energy that causes us to fall back on negative or defensive behaviors that no longer serve us. It shows us that how we live and perceive the world is a byproduct of this energy and provides relief from the long-standing effects of past wounding or trauma. So instead of recreating situations and relational dynamics that keep us trapped, we’re able to find purpose and meaning in life and evolve toward a fuller and more authentic expression of our innate qualities: love, freedom, wisdom and serenity.

The Beginnings of Core Energetics

Core energetics was founded by Dr. John Pierrakos in the 1970s. It’s based on the belief that we all have a creative, positive force within us, but when this inner energy becomes blocked, it can lead to repressed emotions and negative life patterns. Core energetics is influenced by Pierrakos’ mentor Wilhelm Reich, who, like him, held that people have an inherent capacity for love and healing. Encouraging these qualities and learning how to express them is essential for our mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Pierrakos and his fellow student, Alexander Lowen, co-established the Bioenergetics Institute in 1955, building on the work of Reich to develop a new approach. Eventually, Pierrakos separated himself from bioenergetics and pursued his own ideas. In 1971, he collaborated with his wife, Eva, to integrate body therapy techniques with her system of spiritual development called the Pathwork to form the Core Energetics model.

Main Tenets of Core Energetics

Core energetics bridges the gap between bodywork, psychotherapy and spirituality. It is based on the premise that we each have a life force within us that is meant to flow freely, and when it does, we feel alive, fulfilled, and like we are embodying our best selves. It is also built on three main guiding principles or tenets:

  1. 1. That we are inherently psychosomatic beings — the mind and body are inseparable
  2. 2. The ability to heal comes from within
  3. 3. All life necessarily moves toward creative evolution

In Core Energetics, health and well-being are characterized by a balanced flow of energy that permeates five fundamental levels of being: the mind, body, will, emotions and spirit. When it is weak or blocked due to previous traumas, dysfunctions can occur that underlie the challenges we face. Many times, these blocks appear during childhood, when we build up our walls and create defenses against painful feelings. In the process, we also stop the flow of creative energy, causing our minds and bodies to suffer. But by allowing it to flow freely again, long-standing patterns shift and we gain more clarity, purpose and hope in our lives.

Three Layers of Personality

Core Energetics assumes that we each have three distinct layers of personality with their own unique energies. In any given situation, we react from these aspects of personality:

  • The Mask — This is the outermost layer that we show to the world. It’s composed of defense mechanisms, survival strategies and unfulfilled past needs. The mask is the aspect of personality that reflects who we think we’re supposed to be. The stronger we identify with our mask, the harder it is to recognize the issues it was created to hide.
  • The Lower Self — The aspect of personality below the mask is the lower self, which represents trapped energy and an attachment to destructive habits or behaviors. The lower self is determined to avoid pain at all costs and causes people to distance themselves from their emotions, but this can also lead to numbness.
  • The Higher Self — Representing who we really are at the core, the higher self is the aspect of personality that resides beneath the lower self. It pulses with life energy and desires to continuously evolve and grow. Innate qualities of the higher self include love, wisdom, power, courage and leadership. Those who are better able to express the qualities of the higher self experience more joy and happiness in their lives.

The energy of the mask is dull and stagnant because it is not real, but it can distort the qualities of the higher self. In contrast, the lower self contains power and energy, but it is used in the service of avoidance or separation. By transforming the lower self, we can access this energy and use it to facilitate the free expression of the higher self.

Core Energetics at The Guest House

The Guest House is dedicated to helping people heal the deep soul wounds that underlie their trauma, addictions and compulsive behaviors. Core Energetics is one approach that we use for clients who are feeling stuck in their recovery and disconnected from their inner selves. Used alongside the proven 12-step model and other holistic therapies, Core Energetics can provide a dynamic and multidimensional experience that resonates in the mind, body and spirit.

Core Energetics is a highly personalized process that meets individuals where they’re at in their recovery. Some people are ready to confront their masks or lower selves right away, while others may have to build up to it with grounding exercises and breathwork. This is because the ego might find the endeavor too threatening, so it’s important to first set the stage for what’s to come and ensure the therapeutic alliance is strong. Our therapists can help determine if one is ready for exposure to the lower self and provide reassurance by reminding them that the journey doesn’t end here, but continues onto the higher self.

The goal of Core Energetics is to invite deeper self-awareness that lets us access our higher selves and heal past wounds. To do this, first we attempt to penetrate the mask and transform the lower self by releasing stuck energy. As the process unfolds, we’ll gain insights into these aspects of ourselves and how they’re expressed in the circumstances of our lives. Then, we’ll center on the higher self, where we come out of numbness and feel an increased capacity for truth, connection, love and compassion. The last stage is to uncover the universal life plan, where we come to know ourselves as an integral part of a greater whole.

Throughout the treatment process, our therapists will use various techniques to increase personal awareness and address the flow of energy between the mind, body and spirit. These include grounding exercises, physical movement, breathwork, meditation, massage, vocalizations and more. The exact approach may vary to help each individual navigate their own emotions, resolve unhealed trauma and better express their authentic, true selves.