A Look At Core Energetics and other Somatic Therapy Approache

Aylee Walsh found this article I wrote a while back comparing Core Energetics with other Approaches,

The first part of this article is excerpted from an article by Karyne Wilner


“Differences exist between Core Energetics® and other schools of body psychotherapy, and between Core Energetics® and other spiritual schools of counseling. Examples include focusing, a method developed by Gendlin (1981), which requires clients to experience sensations in their bodies through deep concentration. This technique does not use movement to unblock energy. The Rubenfeld synergy method integrates Gestalt therapy and the Alexander method, emphasizing the identification of here-and-now feeling states and therapist manipulation of the client’s body (the client lies on a massage table), but it does not acknowledge or work with energy per se (Simon, 1997). The Hakomi school (Kurtz, 1990) recognizes sensations and currents in the body but fails to stress strong physical release unless it erupts spontaneously from the client. Hakomi practitioners are trained to be extremely accepting and nonjudgmental, so as not to elicit resistance. In contrast, Core Energetic therapists welcome resistance, using confrontational techniques to bring it to consciousness to release the strong emotion repressed behind it. Holotropic Breathwork (Grof & Grof, 1990), another body technique, emphasizes breathing to resolve spiritual emergencies. However, unlike Core Energetics, it is not based on a comprehensive model of personality, nor does it use the body to diagnose underlying problems. Holotropic practitioners generally work with energy in a group format, using a form of breathing, with music in the background, that produces a state similar to hyperventilation. Finally, spiritual schools such as Jungian psychology and pastoral counseling rarely emphasize action methods or focus on the body. Instead, they use strictly verbal interactions between therapists and clients, emphasizing dreams, thoughts, metaphors, allegories, values, principles, and myths.”




To Do A Common Thing Uncommonly Well

Rami receiving CEA two year diploma

I love this poem by Rami, it reminds me of why we are all here, the lessons to be learned on planet earth. We learn them when we are humble, not when we are special. Picture of Rami receiving his two year diploma from the Core Energetics Academy.
Life is not Mundane

By Rami Nagel


Doing the laundry,
Washing the dishes,
Taking out the trash,
Driving your kids to school.
You hope that one day you will be recognized for what you do.
And you pray for the day when you finally will be seen for the song that you are.
And you wait.
And you wonder.
And you continue about your daily routines, looking forward to that exciting
Future while trying to move away from your unfulfilling past.
But nothing happens.
Is this all life is?
Is this all life has to offer?
And then one day you surrender and let go….
You accept that you
Are not just picking up the kids from school,
Are not just washing the dishes,
And you are not just doing the laundry.
As there is no longer any point to waiting for that magical event in the future
Where you can live, and where you can be free. Because you realize that you no
Longer need to wait to be recognized.
At that moment you stop holding back what wants to burst through you,
And you decide to forgive the past,
And you forget about the future
You let go of all that you strive to become
At last
You can drink from the nectar that the angels have been pouring into you.
And you remember that you are here to shine,
To live, and
To love.
In forgetting who you’ve become, you remember who you are.
You drive your beautiful angels to school,
You marvel at the laundry
And kneel before the sacred dishes.
And as the water pours out, it refreshes you and it reminds you, that life is not


what is body reading

What is a Body Reading

This work comes from a long history in psychology. It started with Freud. His student Wilhelm Reich showed that you could understand and analyze the personality by looking at the body. My mentor, Dr. John Pierrakos, a student of Reich, passed on the technology of reading the body to me. You can look at a person and understand his or her personality dynamics, behavior, and potential of change. Not just for therapists, body reading can be used for jury selection, sales calls, persuasion, improved communications, and greater understanding between people.

When clients comes for therapy, we need to assess them, so that we can help them by identifying the underlying issues. Some therapists use paper and pencil tests and others the Rorschach ink blot test. Somatic therapists get their information directly from the body: posture, facial expression, muscles, and energy flow. When you tell people about themselves on the basis of what you see in their bodies, they are motivated to work on themselves. When the client hears his or her story and see it in his or her body, it motivates that person to change. For instance, if you know that you give up too easily, but someone else can see it too in your posture, that is a call to action.

When I first started to assess the body, I was afraid to ask clients to undress, so I tried to look at them with their clothing on. However, when I got past my shyness and asked people to change into workout clothes, I could see changes in their skin color and body weight, I could see scars and tattoos. I was able to give a truer analysis. Clothes make it hard to see the more vulnerable parts of the body.

A lot of people say: “Well this is my body. It is just the way I am. I can’t do anything about it; this is me.” This is not true; research from the field of genetics and epigenetics shows an interplay between events and circumstances in a person’s life and one’s genetic heritage. For instance, posture is affected by lots of things: emotional trauma, angry parents, children raised in fear, lack of food, humility, and testosterone. When I look at posture, it tells me about the life wound. For instance the shoulders may roll forward to protect the heart or to help carry the burdens of life that weigh the person down. Your shoulders may have a certain width due to genetics, but how they are positioned, whether they sag, are raised up around the neck, are injured, hunch forward, or thrust back, is determined by life events.

I try not to overwhelm the person whose body I am assessing with information. I don’t want to keep secrets from them. So I only hold back what I consider superficial and I tell them the important things. Because people can handle only so much information, I share what I want someone to think about and work on. Body readings show parts of the personality that are unknown to the person being read. That the body tells their life story and that someone else can see it too, is very meaningful to them. Bodies show what people have experienced so far in life, where they have been, their past histories. Reich wrote that the body holds the frozen history of the person, that life wounds are frozen or fixed in the body, and that what a child has experienced even in the womb can be seen in the body years later. The body tells your life story. I suggest that the body will also expose your future and you can change it to attain a better future if you are so minded.

Karyne Wilner, PsyD 4/25/2018




Why I Became a Holistic, Body Therapist

Why did I leave talk therapy to do something different.  I was a humanistic therapist applying the work of Rogers, Perls, Gendlin, Erikson, even Ellis, in my practice. The experiential nature of the work invited me to be myself versus wearing the pro forma blank mask.

Then I met John Pierrakos, MD. at a Humanistic Psychology Conference. Everything turned rightside up for me and got even better. By looking at the body, I achieved a quick, dead on, ability to assess a person’s personality and behavior.

I didn’t throw out my DSM, but used this information to support traditional diagnoses and to question them. Body therapy techniques and exercises transformed my life, helping me love again, move my career in a new direction, finish my doctorate, adopt a child, and do all the things I secretly wanted to do.

If these tools worked for me, what would they do for my clients? So I changed my practice, not totally, but enough to help my clients find their core, move into their bodies, and way from the mind that led them to fear and self-judgment.

The bottom line —  I believe talk therapists and traditional therapists need to integrate the body and the transpersonal into their practice. Reasons:  boredom sets in; clients don’t change;  you experience less pleasure; your own life feels stuck; and when you want to help your clients experience pleasure, be in their truth, and open their hearts.

Warmly, Karyne


Rid Your Relationship of Cruelty

Love is the ultimate goal. Relationships can  be difficult if partners develop weapons to use against each other. Sometime stereotypes prevail. Men are supposed to be strong and women are seen as emotional and sensitive. Disappointment follows if men appear weak or emotional and women powerful and distant. People enter relationships burdened with issues: distrust, anger, hostility, passivity. They believe love is dangerous. Unconsciously they bring cruel behaviors and attitudes into the relationship, either by being passive and enduring cruelty or by being active and inflicting cruelty.

Behind the weapons lives an intense need to distance oneself driven by fear of life, fear of death, and fear of pleasure. So instead of respecting the life force–the core–and living in peace, without conflict, guided by the intelligence of the heart, they fall victim to their own fear, the negative energy that darkens their doorstep. Restructuring can only take place with self-care, sleep and healthy nourishment, love, and meditation or prayer. The two people must use both their outer and inner wills to correct their bad behavior, distinguish right from wrong, and embrace mutuality rather than running from it. They must choose the love force to overcome negativity.

When a relationship starts to fail, blame is often the culprit. They each say their unhappiness has been inflicted by the other. They believe themselves innocent victims. There may be a deliberate sabotage of the sexual  part of the relationship. Someone withholds or becomes too aggressive. The pleasure diminishes. One  person may initiate the negativity and the other may respond to it with  negativity. Victim versus hater.

At this point, they need to stop and separate from the negative beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and judgements poring forth from their fear-based brains and pay  attention to their conscious minds,  real selves, and true bodies. The body speaks the truth. When one listens only to one’s mind, one listen’s to fear. To listen to the heart brain and the gut brain is to know the truth. Rather than giving power to negative images, give power to heartfelt energy, pleasure, mutuality, and truth.

Three steps to take

  1. When your partner says something negative, do not respond with negativity, do not get defensive, and do not try to show why you are right?
  2.  Sit within the glow of your heart. Meditate on all that you love or have loved in the past about your partner, even if he or she is not acting that way at the moment.
  3.  Own your own fear of closeness and intimacy. You believe that if you can hate this person, you can run from the relationship and you will never be hurt again.

Thoughts of John Pierrakos M.D.  Expanded upon and written up by Karyne Wilner, PsyD


The Silence Of Forgiveness

We parked the car in the Munich airport this morning. After an 11-hour car trip through the Alps and four hours sleep in a German Pension, we boarded the plane for Berlin. (They will pick up the car after the training when they return to their summer home by the sea). Heidi told me the man sitting next to me on the plane was flirting, but I didn’t notice. Lost in deep meditation I wondered “why am I  here in Germany,” “why am I flying to Berlin?”—a place I viewed with horror as a child. Simply put, I am here about forgiveness. The first time I came to Berlin to teach, I felt hateful and angry. I felt like an outcast. I felt like I was being persecuted. When the class processed their work in German and no one translated for me, I experienced intense loneliness and rejection. The second time I came, the experience was somewhat better. I came to teach in a small village between Hamburg and Breman and because I love country and farmland, I found it tolerable. Also I talked a woman in the class about being Jewish, and that helped me to let go of my underlying hostility and fear.


This time being Jewish came up as soon as I came to Grafenhaun to teach. Laurenz, the director of the program, and I started to get to know each other in a deeper way and he asked me about my roots. I told him I was Jewish and he seemed surprised. He asked me if I needed to deal with this in class. He asked how I felt about being here in Germany. I told him I am happy to be here and I don’t need to deal with this in class. And that felt  true. And then as luck would have it…..


I often do a demonstration the first day of class. When I asked for a volunteer, Lois came up to the front to work with me. She told me that she has pain (chronic) in her solar plexus. When she started to work in that area of her body (deep breathing, kicking, etc) an intense yearning for the nurse who cared for her from birth till age two occurred. Soldiers came to Lois’s house and took the nurse away because she was Jewish. From then on, Lois was not allowed to broach the subject to her parents or mention the nurse by name. (The nurse survived the camps and Lois has seen her since). Needless to say, this experience touched me deeply and I then chose to share my Jewish heritage with the group. I applauded her courage and desire to work on the loss of a Jewish nanny. I felt relieved that she could release grief still held in her body, some fifty years later.


Earlier on the plane, I realized some anger and hate still resided in me. When I looked down below at the green fields, I saw them covered with blood. That feeling quickly changed to forgiveness and love. I am grateful to be here and to  have the opportunity to heal and to make a difference.


I also realize that I  need to take more time off when I return to the states, I will try to take the last week in August – to do errands, to think, to meditate, to write. I want to spend time in silence and in forgiveness. Not filling the space around me with words. Here in Europe I hear sounds. Since I don’t know the language—many of the sounds appear to lack substance or emotion. Silence offers tremendous knowing and wisdom.