post partum depression

Postpartum mood disorder generally refers to depression, feelings of sadness, and anxiety, restless sensations, that occur after giving birth due to hormonal challenges and imbalances, the result of too much or not enough estrogen or progesterone.

In my experience with clients’ intrusive thoughts do occur, and they can be quite frightening for the mother.

Particularly scary thoughts reoccurring thoughts concern throwing the baby out a window or dropping the baby down a flight of stairs. Even if the thoughts are not quite that severe, they concern either hurting the baby or one’s own inability to parent.

I think the reasons that stop women from asking for help include stigma, access, and financial constraints. Also, some parents may think this state will be of short duration (which is not always the case), or that theycan handle the problem themselves. The stigma for mothers is a strong factor. You are supposed to be happy. You wanted they baby. Maybe you tried for years until you got pregnant. Now you feel as if you have betrayed yourself, your partner, and your parents. If you are not upbeat and giving every sign of being a fulfilled and happy mother, you have failed. I have one client now in her 60’s who had terrible post-partum depression as a young mother. She never told anyone about the cruel thoughts that would enter her mind. Now, when she babysits her grandchildren some of these thoughts return, no longer due to hormones, but because she was never able to talk about them or process them. Postpartum depression is often a family secret.

As a society there is a lot we can do in terms of educating women and couples. Rather than seeing postpartum as a mental health condition, unless the person already has a mental health diagnosis, and after the birth it becomes more severe, we can view postpartum as a hormonal imbalance made worse by stress and life-style issues. We need to educate pregnant women and their partners about health, stress, diet, exercise, and air to breathe. We need to teach communications, so anger does not overtake the relationship during a pregnancy. We need to teach partners to support each other and prepare for the life changes ahead. 

Karyne Wilner's Core Energetics Individual Therapy


I wrote this piece in honor of my friend and colleague who was called home on 1/23/2023 for the Core Energetics Alumni Newsletter. But since many of my trainees who worked with Irene in RI are not members of that group, I am placing it here on my website.

Irene – Angel on Earth

Most of you know my friend and colleague, Irene Bryan, as an amazing professional which she was.  But how do I describe such a multifaceted human being.  All fire and light. 

            Professionally, a licensed psychologist in MA as well as a Core Energetics practitioner, she had an overfull practice. She worked hard, too much, even by my workaholic standards. She would tell me she was going to cut down, but that didn’t seem to happen. She lived to help people. The week of her death she thrice texted a friend in Columbia, concerned about this person’s safety. She helped me in the professional Core Energetics RI program, teaching whenever I needed her, no matter what else was going on in her life.  She was the only therapist/psychologist I know, among both core practitioners and my traditional colleagues who remained in supervision when it was no longer required. There was always more to learn, she said. Sometimes her supervisors were Core Energetics practitioners and sometimes they were psychoanalysts. 

I asked her to join myself and Charles Corley, as an assistant director of our institute in RI. In that role she accompanied me to the international directors’ meetings and developed the ethics code along with Kathleen Goldberg for the International Association of Core Energetics Institutes. She dedicated many hours of her life to administrative tasks such as that one. Earlier when we were all still strongly involved with the NY Institute, she spent hours creating the student handbook. She so loved Core Energetics, devoting her life and love to this work. 

            But it was as friend and companion she touched me most deeply. She brought sparkles of love and light into my life; there for me in a way no one else has ever been. This past summer I was ready to pull my hair out — having to move out my home in RI. I had so much stuff to get rid of. Doing a yard sale by myself was almost impossible. Irene drove down form MA and helped me sell stuff. Actually, I am a wuss when it comes to yard sales. I would have given it all away or at least taken pennies. She drove a hard bargain and the people paid up – who would have known. 

Every year at New Years, my husband, myself, and Nicole, if she were available, were invited to an amazing dinner party, given by Joe and Irene for his friends and colleagues from when he worked for Conrail, a railroad company in Philadelphia. After Jack died, my attendance continued but now with Irv. What made these dinners special is that every dish and delicacy – and there were many — were made by Joe and Irene. I never saw Irene as happy and fulfilled as when she was helping Joe prepare food for this large group of hungry people. 

The harmony Joe and Irene achieved as a married couple was special. If you were in Cancun, or in Italy before that, you may have noticed the way they communicated, sharing a private language, the small nuances that exist when two people get each other and are on the same wavelength. Sitting in the back seat of the car, I loved to watch them drive together. He drove and she navigated. He turned to her for directions and she relied on him to get them from point A to point B. 

Irene’s daughters were super important to her. The loss of Eila was devastating. She supported Gisela through medical school and her first job in emergency medicine in Miami and was thrilled when Josephine got accepted into law school. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t have done for either one of them. When Eila died, she invited Eila’s boyfriend to live with them and heal within their family unit. Irene seemed to me — an angel on earth.  

She also loved her dogs. I can’t keep track of them and won’t get their names right. The current one is named Fitzie and before that was Samson. Fitzie is the largest dog I have even seen, and the picture I will forever carry in mind’s eye is of Irene, this shortish woman in black coat and black hair flying behind her walking this huge black/brown dog with gusto.

When I think of Fitzie, Joe, Gisela, Josephine, her sisters, even her mother who is unwell and living in Venezuela, I can’t imagine the unbearable pain and heartbreak. It is a huge loss, yet they will always have her. Her spirit and her soul are so strong, and even now, as she moves toward total light and transition, she leaves a trail of love, compassion, and generosity. So many people have turned to me in the past few days to say “she saved my life.” 

Written by Karyne B Wilner 1/27/2023


The Armored Heart

The Armored Heart

Anger and hurt occur when we suffer heartbreak. In reaction, we armor the heart and contract our chest muscles, so that no-one can hurt us again. When your heart is armored, you dull your feelings. Since feelings add color to life, there is an internal deadness. No matter how successful you are on the outside, something is missing. 

Because I was born in wartime, 1944, my father was in the service and my pregnant mother went home to live with her parents and give birth to me. My grandfather who doted on me, often took care of me. When my father was discharged, my parents bought a home his hometown, Altoona Pa, a railroad town about two hundred miles from Scranton Pa where I had been living. So, at approximately age three, I had to leave the loving arms of my grandfather. I did not do it with grace. I cried and screamed, hung onto the columns on the front porch, and broke out in hives. At that early age I learned it wasn’t safe to love and I better protect and armor my heart from here on in. 

Three years later when I was six, Pop – that’s what I called him—passed away, reinforcing my conclusion that it’s not safe to love someone with your whole being. Before he died, I remember receiving a gift of a bride doll. I thought she was beautiful, dressed in her white gown, On the ride to the hospital to visit Pop it began to rain. When I hopped out of the car, I dropped my precious doll into a puddle that had formed, and her white dress was now dirtied. That day formed a visual for me: If you truly love, something will muddy it and diminish its beauty. 

Once the heart is armored, the heart’s energy is blocked and it doesn’t flow as easily to join up with the energy in the rest of the body. Not only do you miss out on opportunities for love, more significantly, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. An armored, hurt and angry heart impacts your relationships and your entire cardiovascular system.

A client of mine, Gerald, not his real name, aged 55, quit school in tenth grade and worked in construction. His doctor suggested he see me after he suffered a stroke. Exploring his history, I found that although he felt close to his mother growing up, his father ignored him, hit him, and criticized him. Never dealing with the anger toward his father, he drank and got into fights until his health failed. Described as “hot-headed,” he admitted using his temper to undermine relationships. Now he wants to change, knowing his anger has played a role in his illness.

Cardiovascular patients who receive support from family, friends, and even from community organizations do better than those who lack support. Growing up Gerald received support from his mother, continuing into adulthood. Unfortunately, she passed away two years prior to his stroke. When I met Gerald, who was still grieving his mother’s loss, he told me that spent minimal time with friends. He did not to know his neighbors personally and he resented their loud music. Occasionally he confided in his wife and daughter, but normally he didn’t reveal anything about himself. He has few positive interactions with other people and none that he initiates himself.

For Gerald, like for myself and many of you, healing involves focusing on the heart, releasing it from its constraints, allowing it to have all of its feelings, freeing it to be both vulnerable and strong, and delivering it from the bonds of anger. 

An armored heart means that you have managed to contract the muscles in your chest. To release those muscles and melt the armor, strong movement is required for a period of several days. But even before that, I suggest two exercises. First, sit down with eyes closed and visualize your heart, not the heart pictured in medical books, but a very personal heart, the seat of love. Is it smooth or bumpy, scarred, hot or cold, black, red, or pastel pink? After you visualize it, sketch it in your notebook. You don’t have to be an artist, do the best you can. Secondly, I need you to remember the original incident or event that caused you to armor your heart. Or at least go as far back as your memory will allow. For me it was leaving my grandfather’s house, and for Gerald it was the first time his father hit him. What is yours? 

Now that you have that thought in mind, I am going to ask you to voluntarily move your energy. Stand unless for physical reasons you need to sit, and put your feet shoulder width apart, bending your knees slightly, so that you will be more grounded when you move your energy. Now, punch the air in front of you 100 times, one fist and then the other. You are to do this for 14 days or two weeks every morning or evening, whichever works best for you.  It’s simple, visualize your original anger incident, and punch the air in front of you as hard as you can.

At the end of two weeks, you will reverse this this process. For the next two-week period, I want you to visualize the original event (in my case I was torn from the column I clumg to and thrown screaming into the backseat of the car) and look at that situation with a compassionate, loving heart. Ask for healing from the universe, with straight arms reaching directly out in front of you, grasp the air with your hands and pull it toward your chest, right into your heart. Do this same movement 50 times every morning or every evening for two weeks as you look at the perpetrators with compassion.

At the end of the month, email me at and tell me if you noticed a change in your heart, in your relationships, and in your health. 

With heartfelt love, Karyne


Freud’s Theory About the Body

Body analysis began in the late 1890s, starting with Freud, when he wrote about sexual problems that resulted from blocked sexual energy, which he called “libido.”  He theorized that personality problems resulted when energy did not flow in the body.  Unfortunately, he developed this theory during the Victorian era when it was not politically correct to discuss sexuality. So he stopped writing about it, fearing that libido theory could hurt his popularity.

In the 1930s, when society had become slightly more accepting, Freud’s student, Wilhelm Reich, MD, embraced libido theory, stating that the flow of biological energy in the body heightens pleasure, happiness, and sexuality.  In fact, he saw it as the key to a healthy body and mind. In his research, Reich looked at the bodies of dozens of his clients, hypothesizing that the energy in their bodies (called chi in acupuncture) flowed differently depending upon the relationship they had with their parents. When things were good, energy shaped the body in harmonious ways, and when the situation was cold, scary, critical or abusive, the energy created distortions in the body.

By the late 1960s, my future mentor, John Pierrakos, MD and another psychiatrist, Alexander Lowen, MD, drew on these ideas and developed a new way to work with the body, called Bioenergetics. With their understanding of energy patterns, they were able to help people decrease negative emotions, like anger, and take more responsibility for their lives. They taught people to stand tall, to breathe correctly, and to move in an assertive manner. In the late 1970s, Pierrakos founded a new school called “Core Energetics,” When I became his student he taught me that energy in the body has a spiritual dimension. A strong spiritual presence in one’s life helps facilitate energy flow. .  

I have built on these traditions in my own practice and in the techniques and exercises that I will share with you in this blog and on my website



Top of head, brain, forehead, and eyes: Represents Wisdom, Spirituality, and Perception

Top Of The Head

            First explore the top of your head. Place your dominant hand (the hand you use to write or eat) palm down about two to three inches above your head.  Experience the sensations in your palm or between your head and your palm. Is there a feeling of warmth, coolness, tingly feelings, or do you feel absolutely nothing? Now do the same thing with your other hand, the non-dominant one, again sensing whether the experience is one of warmth, coolness, energy, tingly sensations, or nothing. Write down what you experience. Now shut your eyes and note whether you see any colorswhen you do this with one or both hands and if so list the colors you see. The upper head and brain relate to father sky and higher energies. Wisdom, spirituality, and knowledge are thought to reside in this area of the body.

These characteristics of the top of the head mean the following:

            When you feel warm sensations on the top of your head the energy is flowing in a positive direction. You may be feeling good or even spiritual.  Your thoughts may be pleasant or you are simply relaxed.

            Tingly and pleasant, sensations above the head mean you are connected to the cosmos, alive, relaxed, feeling good, or in a spiritual state. You may have a strong connection with a higher power or the universe as a whole.

            A cool or cold state signifies a more closed way of being, meaning that you may be strongly focused on thinking about something and centered in yourself.  In this state, people are contained and their energy is not available to others or for spiritual endeavors.

            A lack of sensation above the head indicates a contraction of energy. Your energy is not flowing well. You may experience worry or fear or you may want to withdraw and be left alone. A lack of sensation above the head may signal being cut off from your body. You try to hold everything in and you are out of touch with feelings and emotions.

            If the sensations at the top of your head feel hot or intense, it is a sign of being out of balance and having too much energy in the head. You may be thinking too much or dwelling on a particular issue.  When this happens, physical symptoms such as headaches may occur.  One may also be ungrounded, lack focus, and entertain many unrealistic ideas.

 Here is some additional information about the head:

            When you stop to look at another person, you see the other person first with your eyes, because your head turns at a slower rate than your eyes.

            Many people believe the head represents one’s identity. They judge themselves poorly if they make a mistake or do not perform well intellectually.

            The crown of your head is linked to the cosmos, to the sky, and to the spiritual realm. The top of your head receives energy from the cosmos and sends it down into your body through energy channels, identified in many ancient spiritual, and healing systems such as acupuncture, Taoism, yoga, Hinduism, and shamanism.

            If the head angles down toward the ground, it may mean a person is depressed.

            A head angled downwards can also signal shyness. However, in a variety of cultures it may mean respect.

            By nodding the head when you converse with someone, it signals that you empathize with what the other person is saying.

            If you nod your head when speaking with another person, it shows that you seek the other’s approval.

            Your head may also move when you accentuate certain parts of a conversation when communicating with others. For instance by changing the position of one’s head, the direction of the gaze, or by moving one’s facial muscles, people try to make or emphasize a point.

            Head movement may be used to steal attention away from your body. When people experience discomfort with their bodies, the head and facial muscles seem to say, “Don’t look at my body, look at my face or head instead.”

            Sensations in the head occur when facial muscles activate and when skin temperature changes. These sensations signify emotional activity such as anger, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, surprise, anxiety, love, depression, contempt, pride, shame, envy, and neutrality.

            When your head juts out ahead of your body, this position means that you are needy, tend to get attention through the intellect, and that your head rotation is restricted.

            When your head pushes forward it can also mean that you try to see what lies ahead.

            If your head pulls back and away from your body, it may indicate that you want to retreat from the world.

            When your head pulls up and away from the ground, so that your chin and eyes point upward, it indicates a discomfort with reality and a preference for fantasy over fact.

If your head is large in comparison to your body, it shows a strong will, a desire to control situations, and a belief that one is right in most cases.

            A large head may also mean that you take pride in your intellect or that you have been rewarded in the past for mental performance.

            The back of the head represents the lower brain, the parts that control sleep, movement, and touch. It also reflects your ability to put a dream or vision into action.

            When energy can be seen circling around the outside of a head, as in early renaissance paintings, it is called an aura. A pastel colored aura reflects a harmonious relationship with the universe. Yellow means you think deeply and swirls of pink and green reflect your loving feelings. On the other hand dark red may mean anger and muddy green or brown displeasure.  {Illustration: An aura surrounds the head}

            During a graduation ceremony, I watched two female graduates walk up to the platform to receive their certificates.  I was struck by the difference in energy around each woman’s head. The face of the first shined with pleasure and visible energy or currents of light radiated out from her head and shoulders. The other woman’s face looked worried and tense. Perhaps she felt uncomfortable in front of an audience or thought that she did not deserve the recognition. A muddy blur surrounded her head and shoulders and frown lines were evident on her forehead.

Will publish more in the future. Stay in touch at



by Karyne B. Wilner, PsyD, based on the thoughts of John C. Pierrakos, MD


The human body displays a repetitive shape that looks something like a kidney bean. Imagine kidney beans fused together: kidney bean shaped heads, necks, chests, arms, hands, hips, legs, feet.  People have fingers and thumbs shaped like kidney beans. This repeating shape represents a basic life form.  Wilhelm Reich, MD, grandfather of body psychotherapy, called the energy associated with this life form — orgone.

Ganglions that make up the autonomic nervous system fire repeatedly and send steams of energy throughout the body. Some streams move up toward the head from the center of the body and others move down to the feet. The energy forms a figure eight crossing at the center of the body, moving through the body like a rotating pendulum. When there are problems or difficulties caused by emotions, thoughts, health, or behavior, the energy stops moving. It backs up and may even move in the opposite or wrong direction. For instance, when energy is blocked at the pelvis, it won’t go down to the feet. Instead it will jam up in the pelvis and look for another form of release. Since the downward channels are closed, it will follow open channels that lead to the chest, neck, or head. When this occurs people will lose touch with their lower bodies and they may not even feel their feet. Top heavy with energy, their thinking may become extreme, believing they are right when they may not be, and becoming judgmental or filled with anxious thoughts.

People who have experienced sexual trauma of one sort or another are often blocked or frozen at the pelvis. They lack a sense of their lower bodies and direct most of their energy upward, so that they may harbor wrong conclusions about life and sexuality, extreme fear of others, and an inability to trust, especially in situations where they lack control.

In contrast, other energy blocks may stop the energy from moving up into the head. When energy can’t move upward, the body will become heavy and stocky as the energy is forced down into the legs and into the earth. In this case, people’s movements will lack grace. They pound the earth when they walk or they become stuck in the muck and they cannot move forward, take the next step, or even recognize what it is. Cut off from their creative minds, they are less open to feelings, and they lack perception, intuition, creativity, insight and inspiration.

To enhance health, mental as well as physical, energy needs to move up and down the entire body. Energy emanates from the center– the core — of each cell. Seen through a microscope, cells look different from each other depending on their role in the body. For instance, skin cells might be spread out from each other whereas thicker muscle cells would be found in clusters. Although cells differ depending on their task in the body, none, if they are healthy, are static. Some shimmer and move, while others flicker off and on, vibrate, or make light waves.  Each cell carries within it its own consciousness.  When cell consciousness meets energy, the energy helps the cells connect up with each other in little streams. The streams of energy become tributaries and merge into large rivers that move the energy through the body, mirroring the movements of a pendulum.  Energy moves from the center of the human body out to the edges of the body where it meets more energy, forming a blue gray colored envelope around the body.  The blue gray color is an interface between energy and matter, representing and reflecting both. Emotions pass through this interface, and as they do-so it pulsates, swelling up and then disappearing as it responds to the emotional climate that it experiences. When people are emotionally healthy, aware, and conscious, the interface surrounding the human body pulsates with th


Body Wisdom: How to Read Your Body to Remedy Your Life

The Unconscious in the Body —– The Body Knows the Truth

The body is like a map. By knowing how to read it, one can achieve a better understanding of oneself and others, discovering and transforming barriers to success in work, romance, play, and overall happiness. Tremendous benefits derive from decoding messages that originate in the body, including a healthy body and mind, a fulfilling life style, successful relationships, and pleasure that radiates throughout your being.

Body reading is a method I have used for over 30 years with thousands of clients and in workshops I have conducted throughout the U.S. and in other countries. I am currently preparing to describe my techniques in online workshops and webinars so that participants can read their own and others bodies to gain deeper insights into themselves and others.

Secrets Revealed

One way the body reveals a person’s secrets—secrets people don’t even know they have— is through its shape. When June, an attractive red head, asked me for help, she said she felt hopeless about ever being in a long-term relationship. She described herself as kind, and giving, but found that men stopped calling her after a few dates. During a body scan, I noticed June’s boney, coat hanger shaped shoulders. Shoulders with bumpy knobs on top indicate that significant people in a child’s early life, such as mom or dad, treated her like a marionette, pulling the strings and refusing to take “no” for an answer.

People with this shoulder structure describe themselves as “people pleasers.” Their friends and romantic partners may see them as weak or desperate—too willing to please. Using somatic exercises and techniques designed to help people achieve assertiveness, June learned to say “no,” to let the men she dated know what she wanted, and to stop catering to their needs. Six months later she wrote that she had accomplished her goal and was now in a committed relationship.

A body reading helped Jacqueline, the mother of three little girls, all under age eight, deal with her anger. Jacqueline’s jaw hurt from grinding her teeth at night. She said she felt alone and unloved. Her non-communicative husband had distanced himself from her and her siblings were unavailable to provide support. Jacqueline’s arms hung loosely at her sides, appearing disconnected from her shoulders, and her harmoniously proportioned body seemed to cave in at the chest.

Motivated to give up the unrealistic wish that fed her anger—that her husband or her brothers would take care of her—Jacqueline empowered herself. Punching a large foam rubber block, she expressed anger about having to stand on her own two feet. After three sessions Jacqueline’s posture changed dramatically. Her shoulders pulled up and back and her energized arms extended powerfully from her body. Deciding to take responsibility for her own life, she enrolled in a teacher preparation program.

Current research shows that various chemicals, neurotransmitter substances, and neuropeptides occur in the brain to form thoughts and behavior. Once they leave the brain and travel with the blood throughout the body, they shape energy flow, emotional responses, and health or disease in various organs, joints, and muscles. This biochemical bouquet creates the body language that helps us uncover information about ourselves that has been outside conscious awareness.

The body reveals information about one’s personality, goals, life struggles, and unfulfilled needs. For instance, the body will indicate how one responds to rejection, whether one can sustain an ongoing relationship, and if one works hard or forgoes responsibility. My students learn to assess themselves, their clients, and others in their lives with the goal of relationship enhancement. They learn exercises and techniques designed to change themselves in order to improve their lives.

Upcoming Webinar, August 25, 2020, Tuesday 7:30pm EST

Participants will learn the basic principles of body reading. They will gain deeper respect for the body and understand what the body communicates. As they focus on their own bodies without judgment, they will gain insights about present and past behavior, self-esteem, family of origin issues, and improving relationships.

By learning to read other people’s bodies, participants will be able to handle or avoid difficult people, improve their ability to communicate with others, and
become more accepting of people unlike themselves.

Save the Date

Information about the webinar on Tuesday August 25, 2020 7:30 pm will be sent out. This is an introductory webinar — no charge. So put your foot in the water and learn about body reading and how it can help you.

Contact me:
Dr. Karyne Wilner, Core Energetics Academy,
Unit 3, 141 Mount Pleasant Road, Newtown, CT 06470
email:; phone: 401-316-7041; fax: 203-270-1977


May My Feet Be On The Ground

What is Grounding?

When I asked my students how they would describe being grounded , they said: connected to reality, stable, anchored, safe, being in the present, secure, standing on your own two feet, independent, autonomy, conscious awareness, not at the whim of emotions, surrender, support, being authentic, and  in the reality of the higher self. I then asked what parts of the body they used to ground, and received: eyes to see, hands to touch, voice and speech to yell, and feet to make contact.

Technically grounding refers to a wire that carries an electrical charge to earth so that it won’t disrupt situations and equipment in the immediate vicinity. In the body grounding refers to the energy that moves from the north pole (the head) to the south pole (the feet) and back again. Humans receive their grounding at birth from the main nurturer, usually the mother. Leaning against his mother’s chest the baby receives energy from her heart. When the mothering figure is present for and totally attuned to her child, grounding is implanted early in life.

Your personality, behavior, and body indicate your grounding. Grounding  means that you have both feet on the ground, suggesting that you are realistic, rational, and that your ideas make sense; your thoughts are logical, coherent, and clear. People with both feet on the ground take responsibility for what occurs in their lives. They make decisions and cope with the consequences of those decisions. People who feel safe and secure in adulthood seem to have had early experiences that enabled them to develop trust, such as being held, snuggled, and rocked. When you have not had positive nurturing experiences, healing requires you to learn how to self-soothe in order to give yourself some of the experiences you missed out on.

Energy flows from head to toe and back in the form of a figure eight, crossing the body at the solar plexus and again at the soft palate when you are grounded. With grounding you embody all that you are, soul, spirit, body, personality, and behavior. You are in tune with the earth and centered. You are a fully moving and breathing creature filled with life energy.

Grounding represents the present moment, being in the here and now, and making real contact. You experience seeing and being seen; speaking, sharing and receiving the other; and touching and being touched. Grounding relates to trust; you feel safe. If you fall, someone is there to catch you. Significant people in your life are loyal and honest, and they will not deceive you.

Rooting, similar to grounding, means having permanent contact with the earth. You move away from the competitive desire to achieve false pleasures, you surrender to the life force and its healing energy, and you connect more deeply with your own feelings and impulses. Being rooted is to be solidly anchored, to have permanence, to belong, to have a solid base.

Grounding and the Body

To be grounded all four corners of the foot, excluding the toes, should touch the floor.  Imagine the soles of your feet kissing the earth.  Feet reflect safety or its lack. They co-ordinate with and represent the root chakra. When the toes curls under, the person holds on for dear life; life has been threatening or traumatic. High arches due to contracted muscles indicate having experienced hostile or negative mothering. The person grows into adulthood desiring to get away from her mother and from mother earth as well. Collapsed arches, known as having flat feet, reflect a tendency to give in to others or to give up and disrespect one’s own wishes and desires. This tendency can be offset by being too willful or rebellious — in an attempt to overcome one’s own weakness. The person may be submissive in general or have submitted to authority in early life and now resents having done so. Low self-esteem results when one has not stood up for oneself and fought for oneself. Bunions reflect unresolved anger that has been held over time and has created a build-up of energy in the foot. If the energy from the head or torso does not move down into the calves, ankles, and feet, people will not feel safe and secure, will have trouble standing up for what they believe, and their decisions may not make sense.

The ankles represent sexuality. If you massage your ankles, you can bring good energy to your sexual center, chakras 2A and 2B. To awaken your sexual energy, I suggest wearing an ankle bracelet. Thinness of the ankles mean that you did not get enough nurturing and feel deprived — you have underlying abandonment issues. Deep in the unconscious sits the belief, “I will never get what I need in life.” Thickness of the ankles can reflect stubbornness, fear of moving forward or taking the next step, and conflict between staying stuck and moving forward. Thick ankles, as well as other blocked or thicker sections of our bodies, hide a “no” to life.

On the other hand a collapse at the ankles — when the ankles turn in toward each other or pronate inwards — indicates a tendency to give up, to be needy, and to feel unable to take care of oneself — derived from experiences based on the mother’s unavailability. Sprained or broken ankles, and other joints, represent repressed hostility. People who have repressed hostility sometimes throw their bodies around leading to accidents, sprains, and breaks.

Ankle issues impact one’s sexuality. So whether you struggle from abandonment, deprivation, fear of movement, stubbornness, giving up, or hostility, these issues and behaviors will than appear in your sexual life, until actual healing occurs. A sexually healthy person is able to maintain his or her energy flow and release excess charge through the orgasm. Grounding and healthy sexuality could be considered analogous.

The lower legs, from the knees to the feet, depict the relationship with your mother — the female role model — for both men and women. Because the knee is a joint, one should never stand with it locked. Joints are intended for weight transfer. Your knees need to be soft at all times, even when you stand still, because it is difficult for energy to get down to the lower legs if they are locked. Knees that flare out from each other — turning out slightly away from the body –suggest a discomfort with sexuality. When energy moves down from the root chakra and from the sexual chakra that sits directly above it, it may flare out at the knees or calves rather than moving straight down into the earth. Imagine your legs as walls of a tunnel and the energy is meant to funnel down between them — through the middle of the tunnel into the ground. Instead it pushes out against the walls of the tunnel, widening the tunnel, and never reaches the ground below. By flaring out one’s sexual energy disperses into the atmosphere.

Look for people in your life who lock their knees when they stand or who don’t put their whole foot on the floor. You will be amazed at how many people you know who block their life energy, suppress their sexuality, and resist its flow.

Knees that are flabby — looking a little like baby fat — may indicate that the person does not wish to grow up.  When a heavier lower body — knees, thighs, and pelvis — connect to a much thinner upper body — it indicates that the person tends to be willful and intent on getting what she wants. Rather than demanding her way, she will placate or befriend you so that you can’t resist. Knees that pronate in or collapse in toward each other, even touch, give the message of giving up, falling down on the job, or letting someone else take responsibility. Knees they that touch, so that there is no space in between them, say “no” to sexuality quite loudly.

The calves represent the third chakra, the solar plexus, self-center, or ego, in the body. This center may be strong or weak depending on the personality. Very thick calves indicate an unwillingness to share or explore feelings. Thinner than normal legs and calves express neediness and deprivation. Since they are not good at self-soothing, these people attempt to get others to take care of them by demanding attention or acting helpless.

Variations in skin color from one part of the leg to the next may reflect energy or emotional blocks. If the color of the leg above the knee is different from the color below the knee, it may mean that energy stops at the knee and that the person feels insecure and unsafe. You may also observe discolorations at certain places on the legs, birthmarks, body temperature changes, and hair growth, all indicating energy blocks that interfere with grounding.

The thighs connect to the pelvis and to the root chakra; they represent sexual issues and concerns. If the woman had a good relationship with her father in childhood, her hips and pelvis will be well formed. On the other hand, if the relationship was negative or troubled in some way, there may be some distortions in the thighs or hips. By father I mean male significant other: it could be the father, grandfather, uncle, older brother, or neighbor. Usually it is someone with a good amount of testosterone, which is why I am suggesting that the influence was male. Similarly, for the male if he had a good relationship with his mother in the first decade of life, his thighs will have a nice shape, not too thick or thin, his pelvis will be of normal size, and his buttocks will be well rounded. Mother stands for a female significant other: aunt, grandmother, older sister, or baby sitter. This person’s estrogen influenced the child, because sexuality develops in relationship to receiving stimulation from the opposite sex sexual hormone, but not too much of it.

 Advice for Therapists

Ensure that your clients are properly grounded before you do anything else in the session. Observe your client’s grounding and give them exercises to improve it if necessary. Grounding will allow your clients to receive, be open, and be present. It will keep them from flooding if you accidentally bring more energy into the session than they can handle. Ungrounded clients may appear to be distant, detached, nervous, or depressed. Ask them when they lost contact with you, did they leave during the session, or were they absent even before they walked into your space. People sometimes leave mentally or spiritually, although their bodies are still in the room. Distancing or distraction occurs when a threat is experienced. Clients may feel threatened by something in the present– by you or your space–, the past, their feelings, or their history. If your clients are traumatized, have experienced trauma, or are new to therapy or body work, ground them through their relationship with you, by providing a warm and supportive atmosphere. Offering a grounding relationship helps those who need a guiding hand. Be aware how you feel when you work with both the same and the opposite sex. If you are female, do you remain present for your male clients, and if you are male do you stay present for your female clients. Where and how do you cut off your feelings in the session? When do you become ungrounded?

Character Defenses and Grounding

The character defenses or character structures have different ways of presenting themselves in reference to grounding. The schizoid person’s body, with a fragmented energy field, tilts and twists to the right or left. The personality tends to be cold or absent. The oral or undercharged person is ungrounded. The body collapses, the legs are thin and lacking color, and the personality is weak and easily influenced by others. The masochist, a blocked, overcharged person, appears overly grounded, so that the body lacks normal energy flow and the movement is heavy and plodding. The psychopath’s energy is upwardly displaced, so that both the body and the personality appear hung-up,  and the individual exists in a made-up, unreal, mental world. The rigid structure is split, cut in half at the waist, so that the heart is separated from the legs and pelvis. Considered the most grounded of the five defenses,  the rigid’s energy flows stiffly throughout the body.

Grounding Exercises:

  1. List the ways you are not grounded in your life.
  2. What early life experiences ungrounded you? If there was one major experience in your past that ungrounded you, what would it be? (example, parents fighting)
  3. What do you do to help yourself feel more grounded when you feel ungrounded?
  4. Explore the ground with your body. Slither across a carpeted floor like a snake. Move across it like an earthworm looking for food, and romp around the room like a monkey, jumping up and down for joy. Then crawl as if you are a baby just before you learn to walk.
  5. Stand with back straight, feet shoulder width apart, and reach both arms up toward the sky, stretching your upper body. At the same time press your feet hard into the ground, without locking your knees. Experience the place inside your body where heaven and earth seem to merge.
  6. Experience the difference. Walk around your room “ungrounded”, on your tiptoes with you neck bent off to one side. Now walk “grounded” with your knees slightly bent, feet fully on the floor, and eyes wide open and in contact with the room.
  7. Massage and foot exercises. Take off your shoes and socks and wiggle your toes. Now massage your feet, toes, and ankles — five minutes for each foot. Hold and massage each heal in the palm of your hand. Stand up.
  8. Waterfall or forward bend. Bend over at the waist and touch the floor with your hands. Bend your knees until your hands can reach the floor. While bending over hold onto your ankles and then move your hands to your heels and hold your heels. Pound on your legs with your fists. Use the side of your fist, closest to the little finger, bounce your fist against your calves and thighs and let it spring back after each bounce. Stimulate your legs top free up your energy.
  9. Describe the following parts of your body which have to do with grounding: feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs.

Working with the Body & the Life Force

Dr. Karyne Wilner
Dr. Karyne Wilner

My specialty is body psychotherapy and energy psychology. For those of you who are not familiar with the work of Core Energetics and other somatic therapies, it is beautiful work, that incorporates the whole person —- body mind, spirit, and emotion. Let me start with the story of a client (name changed) who came to me for help.

Fred had tried everything: traditional therapy, self-help books, group therapy, toastmasters meetings, and public speaking classes. Some things helped a little. Nothing significantly. Sick of his paralyzing shyness, he wanted help quickly.

Meeting Fred for the first time, I noticed thin arms appearing undernourished, stiff shoulders that made it difficult to reach out and make contact, and a torso that leaned back and pulled away from the people his legs want to move him toward. Because I am a body therapist, I ramped up Fred’s energy level in order to prepare his body for change. Then by agreeing to engage in simple physical exercises, designed specifically to unblock energy, create flow, and return his body to its natural state, Fred broke through his resistance and began to form meaningful relationships with other people.

After a few weeks of practice, Fred socialized more at school and joined a fraternity. He asked a girl out on a date and she accepted. The energy exercises triggered his desire to lift weights and build up his strength. He joined a gym and acquired arm and shoulder muscles.

Like Fred, most of us would like to be free of self-defeating behaviors. We would like to replace them with life patterns that lead to success, love, and fulfillment. So if we hold our shoulders stiffly, pull then up in fear, or roll them forward to protect our hearts, simple, practical exercises that focus on the body and create energy flow, can restore our bodies and our lives

When Beverly came to see me, she described herself as an emotional mess, because she would cry or erupt in anger if someone looked at her the wrong way. Looking at her body, I saw her energy fragmenting and scattering around the room, as if someone had emptied a jigsaw puzzle box and let the parts fall where they may. Imagine a young, beautiful face attached to an awkward body –disconnected body parts moving in different directions.

Beverly’s body mirrored the early rejection she experienced-her mother left when she was nine months old. Simple, energetic exercises helped her change.

Her neck and shoulders straightened and relaxed. Her chest pulled up so she could breathe more fully and her arches released allowing her feet to touch the ground. For Beverly uncontrollable rages and emotions became a thing of the past.

Energizing body exercises can help you defeat unhealthy life patterns and change self-defeating behaviors that result from unpleasant, unhappy, and sometimes abusive life experiences, even those you may have forgotten because they took place in early childhood or before you could talk.

Somatic and energy therapies give you tools to release emotions, remold your bodies, and establish new, life patterns. For those of you who want to change your lives so you don’t repeat dead-end relationships or unsatisfying jobs, exploring holistic, mind-body techniques may be the correct path.

Please contact me for more information.

401-316-7041 or


Exercises to Open the Chakras

These exercises will help to energize your body. At a time when most of us are at home and sitting way too much, these tools are very useful. In Eastern psychology the chakra system is known for bringing fresh energy into the body to restore balance and equilibrium as it flows through the body and enervates organs and muscles. For a variety of reasons, the chakras sometimes close and fresh energy cannot enter. These exercises are known to reverse the process and open the chakras.


Grounding Exercise – for the Root Chakra

The following exercise is designed to help you contact your root chakra and feel more grounded.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes straight ahead, and knees slightly bent. Now bend your knees deeper, dropping into a squatting position, but keep your feet on the floor. As you push against the floor strongly with the bottoms of your feet, push yourself back to the original position, feeling the tension in your calves as you rise out of the squat. Do this 15 to 20 times. If your legs begin to vibrate or shake, consider that normal, a sign that energy blocks are releasing.

Exercise for the Sexual Feeling and Behavior Centers

The following exercise is designed to engage both your sexual feeling and sexual behavior centers. It involves lying on a mattress and kicking.

To begin, lie down on a solid mattress and kick about 100 times, while keeping your legs straight out. Next bend your knees, place your feet flat on the mattress, and pick up your pelvis as high as possible. Bounce your pelvis down on the mattress 20 times, each time saying the phrase: “I will never give it to you.” Do this as fast as you can to energize your body and open the flow of your feelings. After you bounce your pelvis, lift your legs up, with your heels pointed at the ceiling and your toes pointing at your face. Hold this position while you slightly bend and then straighten through the knees, stretching the hamstrings. Do this 20 times allowing your legs to shake and vibrate.


 Exercise for the Self-Center

The following exercise will help you improve the energy of your solar plexus and release the fear and the pain associated with blocked feelings there.

Swing your right hand in front of the center of your solar plexus from left to right. Do this several times, cutting through the energy field above it. Then, rest your hand on top of the solar plexus for thirty seconds, palm down, giving it healing energy from your palm.


Exercise for the Healing Center

You can use the following exercise to energize the healing, as well as the sexual, center by kicking or moving your legs. (The healing center is found at your spine, slightly above the sacrum)

Stand and engage in a series of karate kicks, about 10 per leg. As you kick out in front of you with force, lift your leg as high as you can, point your heel at an imagined other in front of you, and point your toe toward the ceiling. At the same time, as you kick and look at an imagined opponent, allow the energy to flow out of your eyes. Feel your power as you release this energy.

Now repeat this exercise, but kick backwards behind you, and at the same time, look forward sending fire out of your eyes.


Exercise for the Heart (Love ) Center

You can use the following exercise to energize your heart center. Place your hand immediately in front of your heart, lightly touching your chest. Then, begin to make small circle, with your hand, moving it very quickly. Keep up the circular motion for one or two minutes. When you finish, shut your eyes, allow your hands to drop gently to your sides, and breathe slowly, staying centered. Then, as you breathe, contact your heart center and set the intent to have more love in your life.


Exercise for the Will Center

To work with the will center and bring it into more balance with your heart, you need to release and mobilize the energy in your upper back and chest. You can use the following exercise to do so.

Stand with your feet a shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Make fists and begin to throw some punches at the wall in front of you. Make good eye contact with the wall as if it were a person. Continue to punch and stare with good eye contact, saying at the same time, “I will never give it to you.” Now continue to mobilize the will center by hitting backward with your elbows, at the same time looking straight ahead and saying, “Get off my back.”


Exercise for the Throat (Voice) Center

You can use the following exercise to unblock energy stuck in your throat. Use sounds such as “ho, ho, ho” and “ha, ha, ha” when you breathe out to unblock this energy.

To begin the exercise, lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat. Then, breathe in deeply through the nose in short sniffs and at the same time arch your back. When you exhale, say “ho, ho, ho” with as much intensity as possible to release the voice center, At the same time roll your shoulders in toward your heart and lift your pelvis one inch off the floor. Do it 10 or 15 times, and after every few breaths, stamp your feet saying “no” to ground the energy. This is a good exercise for people who need to learn to express feelings and talk about important issues.


Exercise for the Executive Center

You can use the following exercise to energize the executive center situated in the center at the back of the neck.  It will release tightness in your neck.

Lie down on a mattress or on the floor and kick with both legs, either straight out or bent at the knee and at the same time turn your head from side to side, very quickly, letting go of control. Do this for one or two minutes. Then sit up, and use your hands to massage the long muscles in the back of your neck. Do so for another minute, pressing your fingers into these muscles with as much pressure as you can tolerate. To finish, shrug your shoulders a few times loosening the muscles around the neck.


Exercise for the Third Eye

To open the third eye, located at the center of your forehead, take a deep breath in through your nose. Open your mouth and exhale in short blasts, “huh, huh, huh.” At the same time, place your hand in front of your throat and shake it back and forth several times as you move it up over your face to the forehead.


Exercise for the Spiritual  (Cosmic ) Center

The following exercise will help you improve the energy flow of your highest spiritual center.

Raise your hand to the top of your head and make three circles. For the first circle, spin your hand clockwise; for the second, spin it counterclockwise; for the third, spin it clockwise again. Do this several times to create movement and flow. Then gently rub the top of your head.


An Exercise to Stimulate All of the Energy Centers

You want to have good energy flow in all of the energy centers for optimal functioning. The following exercise is designed to improve the energy flow to all of the energy centers. Use the picture below to identify the centers.

Start by placing the palm of your hand about 2 or 3 inches away from each center and leave it there for a few seconds. If the energy is circulating well in the center, you will begin to feel a slight stirring of air or heat on your palm. If you feel nothing or if the air cools your hand, that center needs to be rotated or spun. Next, move your hand to each of the front centers starting with the base and ending with the crown, and spin your hand very fast in a clockwise motion as you breathe. Keep a quiet mind and a grounded stance, with your feet facing forward, shoulder width apart, and knees slightly bent.