Core Energetics, Body Psychotherapy, and De-Armoring | John Pierrakos

Published: Feb 26, 2024 | Revised: Mar 31, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

CAndle and Sun

Core Energetics — or the Core Energetics Evolutionary Process — is a Body-Oriented Psychotherapy modality developed by John Pierrakos (1921 – 2001), a physician, psychologist and psychiatrist, who together with Alexander Lowen also created Bioenergetic Analysis. Both Pierrakos and Lowen were students of Wilhelm Reich.

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At the end of the 1960’s, influenced by The Pathwork — which was developed by his wife Eva Pierrakos (Eva Broch) — John Pierrakos parted from Alexander Lowen to further develop his own approach of Body Psychotherapy known as Core Energetics. Vice versa, Core energetic work later also became an essential part of The Pathwork.

Pierrakos’ theory holds that emotional, mental, and physical disturbances in a person are the symptoms of obstructed Life Force Energy, which are caused by the person’s forceful adaption to environmental pressure (by parents, family, and society) and/or the emotional injuries in childhood.

Inspired by Eastern spiritual traditions, he embraced a more spiritual-energetic view on Life Force Energy and energy fields in a human being, and integrated The Pathwork concepts such as the Mask, Lower Self and Higher Self, the Idealized Self, and Life Task with physical Bioenergetic work, the latter used as a Body De-Armoring technique.

His work focused increasingly on a holistic therapeutic process that defined consciousness as an interconnected phenomenon that included body, emotion, mind, and spirit, and in which the spiritual aspect of life became an essential component in personal recovery and growth, to finally embody our core essence and fulfill our life task.

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Pierrakos believed that the ego and body are one, and that surrendering to and embracing all of our feelings will allow the full embodiment of spirit. Love then is seen as the most powerful force in the universe and the human essence is love, but our character defenses (Character Armor) block us to love completely.

CORE also became an acronym for Center Of Right Energy. The CORE, a human being’s core essence, is energy, love or soul. For Pierrakos, CORE Energetics was rather an evolutionary process, in which the progress of the individual moves through stages to unblock psychological and physical defenses, leading to healthy Life Energy flow and the unification of body, emotion, mind, will, and spirit, and a growing awareness of one’s unity with the totality of life.

To find and express our CORE, we need to discover our false self and remove the mask we hide behind, and then express our emotional and traumatic wounds expressing all feelings that are connected to those such as fear, hate, and pain. By deeply feeling and re-experiencing these emotions we may transform them to love, which is accompanied by physical work to remove the Body Armor that keeps us in negative patterns.

Ultimately, we may be able to find beauty and meaning in life that expresses itself through our creative potential and positive actions, being the task in life.

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