What is core energetics?
Core energetics is a body-centered approach that connects traditional psychotherapy and spirituality. The practice was developed in the 1970s by John Pierrakos as an ‘evolutionary process’ or personal development modality, leading individuals to deeper integration and consciousness.
The body is central to core energetics, and many techniques are used to work with the body to address ‘blocked energy’ patterns. Underlying this is the belief that emotions are not just psychological, but are also stored physically in the body.
Core Energetics aims to help people to become aware of and change patterns of behavior, some of which may date as far back as childhood. This healing enables people to lead a life with a stronger sense of self and purpose.
What can core energetics help with?
Core London suggests that body-centered approaches can help with a range of challenges, including:
Does core energetics work?
The current evidence base for core energetics is limited, so more research is needed to determine its efficacy (1). That said, research into body-focused psychotherapies generally indicates that they can lead to improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety (2).
How does core energetics work?
Core energetics aims to help people with life challenges by increasing their self-awareness and healing capacity.
The approach is based on the idea that we learn patterns of behaving in childhood or particular environments, some of which are defensive. We carry these ‘blocked energy’ patterns into adulthood and repeat them, without necessarily being aware of them or how they limit us. This blocked energy is thought to underlie the emotional and psychological challenges we experience.
Core energetics practitioners use techniques like:
- Physical exercises
- Breathing exercises
- Cathartic experiences
The techniques are employed to target suppressed emotions, belief systems, and coping mechanisms. This body-focused work is intended to help release energy blockages and facilitate the expression of emotions, which can be integrated into the individual’s sense of self, and create a center of energetic wholeness (the core).
Structure of core energetics sessions
Core energetics can be delivered in individual or group settings. Group sessions are usually focused around a particular theme, while individual sessions are personalized to your specific needs.
There are four ‘evolutionary stages’ of core energetics work that the individual passes through, as follows:
- Penetration of the mask. This involves letting go of adaptations the person made to survive when they were younger or in an environment in which there was some deficit. ‘The mask’ is a term used to describe this most superficial layer of our personality; that which we present outwardly to others.
- Confrontation and transformation of the lower self. The lower self is the destructive aspect of personality.
- Integration into the higher self. The higher self, or the core, includes universal qualities like love and empathy, and individual qualities like intelligence or charisma.
- Embody our core essence and fulfill our life task. At this stage, the person becomes aware of the interconnectedness of everything.
The mask, the lower self, and the higher self are the three layers of personality, according to core energetics.
What happens in a typical core energetics session?
The content of a core energetics session changes from session to session as you progress through the evolutionary stages.
Typically, a session might include a combination of the following elements (3):
- Psychoeducation: To help the individual understand the evolutionary stages or techniques used
- Body and energy reading: This involves information gathering based on discussion and observation of the individual’s body
- Grounding: This technique enhances the individual’s connection to sensations, emotions, and the present moment
- Breathing techniques: To help release tension in the body
- Active expressive techniques: These encourage the flow of energy to regions of the body and bring consciousness
- Hands-on and soft techniques: With the individual’s consent, hands-on techniques are used to help support the flow and release of energy in blocked areas, and encourage awareness
What to look for in a core energetics practitioner
There are several factors to keep in mind when selecting a core energetics practitioner, including:
Specialization: Look for a practitioner who has completed the core energetics training program. Practitioners often include this information in their biography on their website or online profile. Look for the term, “Certified Core Energetics Practitioner”, reflecting that they have completed training with the Institute of Core Energetics; the institute was founded by the developer of the approach.
Qualifications: With so many provider types available, it can be difficult to decide which type of mental health professional to see. The most important thing is to look for a currently licensed therapist. This ensures that your therapist has completed the appropriate level of education to practice. All therapists on Zencare have already been vetted.
Personal fit: The trusting relationship between you and your therapist, known as the “therapeutic alliance” can have a huge impact on the efficacy of therapy. It’s important to work with someone you trust and feel understood by.
The best way to judge how you might feel about a therapist is to ask for a preliminary phone call. This also allows you to ask about their core energetics training, experience, and what therapy will be like. Try to speak to a few different therapists before deciding.
Find therapists specializing in core energetics
Find therapists who specialize in core energetics on Zencare. Search by insurance, fees, and location; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you!
Sources and references
- (1) Falchuk, A.F. (2016). Understanding Core Energetics: A client’s perspective of the Core Energetics process. Dance, Movement & Spiritualities, Volume 3, Numbers 1-2.
- (2) Koemeda-Lutz, M. et al. (2008). Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Body Psychotherapy in Outpatient Settings (EEBP). Hakomi Forum – Issue 19-20-21, Summer 2008
- Gleason, B., Loustaunau L. (2015). Sage Encyclopedia of Theory in Counseling and Psychotherapy, Core Energetics entry. PDF accessed January 2020 at http://coreenergetics.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Core-Energetics-Entry-from-the-SAGE-Encyclopedia.pdf
- Core London website, http://core-london.co.uk
- Institute of Core Energetics website, https://www.coreenergetics.org