The process of writing a book about reading the body, one that identifies what the body is saying about personality and behavior through its shape, posture, and muscular development, both fascinates and challenges. There is so much of each person’s story embedded in the body. Early woundings and trauma have their say as do more normal developmental experiences such as the struggle for independence or the reaction to a perceived betrayal. Amazingly body parts speak and in not such a surprising way. So of course the legs would talk about taking responsibility and standing on one’s own two feet, the arms about reaching out and making contact, and the throat about speaking the truth and having a say. Well, back to writing. Much warmth, Karyne
Here I am in Boone, North Carolina. I am a pilgrim on a a spiritual journey. Strange — rather than making the journey by foot over mountains eating nuts and roots, I fly, bumping along over a thick cloud cover on US Airways, rent a car to journey up the mountain, and stay at the Boone, Holiday Inn Express with its free breakfast. Nevertheless a pilgrim is a pilgrim and a pilgrim I am — to pay homage to my spiritual teacher, Mother Meera. Yesterday, I sat in her presence for two hours, in silence, as is her wish, crying tears of gratitude for her teachings and for the strong light she brings to Earth. I felt the armor melt from my heart and my ego shrink to nothing as I merged with the energy she emanates of light and love. My hope is that I will have the gift to share this with others, particularly in my teaching and in my school for therapists. In our academic training the mind reigns — in my professional training, the heart reigns. This is the teaching I can bring to my students as my teacher, Mother Meera, brings it to me.
It was Friday, October 1, 2011, the eve of Rosh Hoshona. My plan was to stop and see Aunt Miriam at St. Ann’s hospital on the way back to Portsmouth from my office in Providence, see one client at the Portsmouth office, pick up Nicole at Portsmouth Abby, meet Jack at his office, unload the RV, and then have dinner as a family.
When I could not get off 195 in Fall River because of Friday’s heavy traffic, I drove directly to see the client in Portsmouth, telling myself I would return to see Aunt Miriam that evening after our family dinner. Nicole, who I picked up after work with the client, declined dinner with us because she had a lot of homework due for her Saturday class. Sensitive to her needs. I called Jack and with a disappointed tone of voice, he said: “do what you think is best”. Therefore, I dropped Nicole at the house to study. When I got to Jack’s office, the door was locked and he was gone. I found him having just finished unloading the RV. We drove home separately and it took untill 9 pm to discuss the situation and get back on track. We then went to dinner (just the two of us) and made up.
Now it was 10:30 and I had no energy left. I went home to bed, telling myself that I would go to the hospital first thing in the morning before the workshop that I was leading. I awoke at 7:30 am to find that my sister had called my cell phone during the night. When I returned the call, she told me that my aunt had passed away at 3:00 am. The hospital had tried to reach me but because my cell phone battery was almost dead, I did not hear it ring. My sister also tried to call me, but she was using a number that was no longer in use.
Sadly, my trip to say goodbye to my aunt took place in Saint Anne’s morgue rather than in her room. My guilt, now slowly turning to regret, is that I wanted to be with her when she passed over and instead she was with strangers, frightened and then alone. For me this story shows the twisted consequences that may occur when other people’s needs are put first and your own are ignored. My only need that Friday was to be in that hospital with my aunt. And that is the one place I did not end up.
So as not to end on an entirely dismal note, when I spoke to a respected healer about this, she offered to get in touch with my aunt. The message that came back is “that she is grateful I moved her to be close to me, that there weren’t any mistakes, and it was all divine order helping her to leave when she did. Above all she was grateful to be loved so much.
If you have had similar experiences, or would interpret this one differently, please let me know.
At her first session she told me that her cancer, which had begun as ovarian, was stage-4. It had spread through her body like butter, although she staved if off for at least 10 years with strong chemotherapies and bone marrow treatments. She also explored raw foods, juicing, and wheat grass. She was terribly exhausted from this effort and enjoyed cheating with ice cream occasionally. She came for Core Energetics, an energy therapy developed by John Pierrakos, MD, that she heard might help. A latch ditch effort on her part, she had not considered trying psychotherapy before this.
I felt tremendous empathy with her. My mother had died of ovarian cancer at a similar, youthful age, 59. The work as I normally do it, designed to release stagnant, blocked energy in the muscles, organs, and tendons of the body, would have been too strong for her in her weakened state. So at first we talked and then we found gentle types of energy work that she grew to love.
Together we faced the resentment held in an out-of-awareness state about not being able to bear her own child, because her husband did not want another, even though she graciously raised his three children from a previous marriage. There was also anger at the parents who could not give her love and rage and shame in connection to the fiancee who canceled the wedding at the last moment.
She died a champion, a courageous soul. When she could no longer come to my place, I went to hers. We sat and rocked in her sunroom looking out the windows at the autumn leaves. In the winter I stood by her bedside listening to her breathe for the last time. Her family gathered around her. I stood there, guarding her passage or perhaps witnessing it until midnight, when I left. The next morning her husband called to tell me that she died in the wee hours of the morning.
When John was 11 years of age, a sexual experience with a girl cousin caused him to fear being punished by his father. Because he excelled in school, he was placed in a French Lycee, an equivalent of an American high school and although the courses were difficult, he felt proud of his achievements. He enjoyed competing with other students and getting good grades. His father traveled for work, and when he would return to be with the family, John felt distant from him. Still afraid of him, John expected to be punished for his sexual escapades. On the other hand, these were active, enjoyable years and Jonn played volleyball and soccer daily, taking pleasure in the role of team leader.
At the age of 15, things changed for John because his father died in an accident and he was left to take care of the family and manage the family property. His father had purchased property in Athens and this property provided the family with a comfortable income. Following his father,’s death, John felt frozen; he wasn’t able to access his feelings or cry. However the guilt from his early sexual explorations diminished, and John felt liberated from his fear after his father passed away.
At the age of 18 When he finished high school, John’s sister Catina invited him to come to the United States to study. At that time the Germans had already taken France. John left Greece on the last steamboat from the port of Pireaus. His dream to come to the United States was now coming true. He arrived in 1940 entering Columbia College where he studied for 4 years. For the first 3 years after his arrival in the states, he felt lost, because he did not know the language, and he had to struggle with his studies at Columbia College. He said that “In the 1st year I almost flunked out, but by the 3rd year I was on the Dean’s List and I was amazed to find out how capable I was in my studies when I wanted to apply myself.” Soon he met a female student who was very sweet and accepting. This relationship gave him a lot of confidence and feelings of self worth.
After Columbia, John was accepted to study medicine at the Downstate Medical Center in New York. In medical school he was able to concentrate and focus, and his good marks allowed him to finish in 3 years. Because It was wartime, 1943-44, studies were abbreviated so that students could be of service to the nation. John graduated from medical school in 1947. By now he was in another relationship with a woman of Greek origin, named Ragone. After 3 years, they married and John continued his post-graduate studies in psychiatry. He also met Reich in 1947 and began therapy with him. John was deeply impressed by this man and the intense way Reich worked with him, breaking down his defenses. However, John believed that he never completely resolved his transference toward Reich during the year he worked with him. Then he began Orgone therapy with Dr. Elsworth Baker and that continued for approximately 3 years. During the same time he worked as a psychiatric resident, continued his studies with Reich, and also participated in a classical psychiatric training.
John took a position as a staff member at Kings County hospital. There he felt very alone, since he was the only staff member who was a follower and student of Reich and Orgone therapy. It was very dangerous to be Reichan in those days, since Reich was ostracized and maligned by the psychiatric profession. John left his position at the hospital following an argument with the director about Reich and he established his own office for the practice of psychiatry in 1950. After he opened the office, Alexander Lowen asked to share the office. Lowen had just come from Europe having completed his medical studies there. During that time, Ragone and John celebrated the birth of Eva, their first daughter. And at the same time he started developing the Bioenergetic field with Alexander Lowen; this occurred because they were practicing together and having many discussions. John described this stage of his life as very significant, because it helped him focus on independence and creativity, two concepts central to the later development of Core Energetics.
Someone recently mentioned The Celestine Prophecy to me. Remembering that book reminded me why this Two Year Professional Training in Holistic Counseling, Core Energetics, and Core Living Therapy is so important to me and to those who are enrolling in it. A sentence that stuck with me said: “When something beyond chance leads us forward in our lives than we become more actualized. We feel as if we are obtaining what destiny is leading us to become.”
I hope that the therapists, healers, and body workers who sign up for this training experience themselves moving forward in life guided by mysterious coincidence. This training is designed for those professionals who desire to understand the psychological implications of energy and its healing qualities, and for those interested in finding their truth and experiencing tranformation.Curriculum 2011-2012 Integrative and Energy Theory for Therapists and Healers; The Holistic Treatment of Trauma; Holistic Techniques for Enmeshment and Betrayal; Reading the Body to Creat a Treatment Plan; Exploring Sexuality Through Integrative Techniques; Suptervision and Process Group — Every Weekend
Director: Karyne B. Wilner, PsyD, First Year Dates: Friday – Sunday: October 28-30, November 18-20, 2011 — January 27-29, March 23-35, May 25-27, 2012, Place: 3047 East Main Road, Portsmouth, RI, 02871 Inexpensive nearby motels for those traveling from a distance. Questions and Information: 401-316-7041 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More Information at www.corevibratons.com.
This is a question I have been thinking about. I had no plans to change my practice. I loved being a humanistic psychotherapist, basing my interventions on the work of Rogers, Perls, Schutz, Gendlin, Erikson, and even Ellis. Experiences such as empty chair work and Rogerian reflection deepened the therapeutic process, and because I felt free to express myself, rather than wearing the therapist blank screen mask, I created meaningful relationships with my clients.
Yet, the process changed in an even more fulfilling way once I met John Pierrakos, MD, at a Humanistic Psychology Conference. Seeing his work with the body and his ability to help people recognize the personality and behavioral components they needed to change in order to enrich their lives let me know that there was something more that I could introduce into my practice. At first, I was my own guinea pig. And when I saw the changes in my own life, such as opening myself to love again, finishing my doctorate, adopting a child, and taking my career in a new direction, I was encouraged to try a more holistic program with my clients. Bt integrating many of the humanistic methods that I have always loved with body therapy, my clients found more fulfillment in their lives and they changed at a quicker pace than I or they thought possible.
So when other professionals ask me why they should attend trainings in alternative methods that focus on the body, meditation, and energy work, I can think of many reasons. For social workers, psychologists, and counselors whose emphasis is traditional, talk, or cognitive therapies, consideration of a more holistic methodology might take place when boredom sets in, when clients don’t change after many hours of work, when there is less pleasure in going to work, when your own life feels stuck, when you realize that therapy is about more than just problems, when DSM diagnoses are no longer working for all your clients, and when you want to help people have more pleasure in their lives, be in their truth more often, and open their hearts.