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The Heart of Core Process Psychotherapy
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The Heart of Core Process Psychotherapy. Part 4

By Susan Groves

Where does Core Process fit in with other therapeutic modalities?

In England, where the Karuna Institute is based, Core Process training has long been linked to the Psychotherapy Council (UKCP). CP falls under humanistic therapies in the categorization of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. There is an emphasis on the pre- and peri-natal in the training, so in a sense it has this is in common with a more psychodynamic approach, with its emphasis on the importance of early childhood development.

The Pre and Peri-Natal Field:

CPP attends closely to the field of pre- and peri-natal experience--territory that is increasingly receiving attention. There is growing evidence of the sentience of the unborn child from the earliest time of conception. The time in the womb, the birth process itself and the early period of infancy are extremely formative, as many forms of psychotherapy will attest. In CPP there is an openness to including information from this early time. This may take the form of movement or physical contact. An example may be the following.

The client may experience a sense of pressure on the top of the head. The therapist might enquire into where exactly this pressure is felt. The therapist may then notice that there is a slight movement forward in the client. S/he might then ask: 'Is there a movement that wants to happen'? The client may respond that there is a sense of being pulled forward and down. This movement may then be very gently invited, with support as necessary--from cushions, the therapist's hands or body.

Clearly this territory is all at the level of the pre-verbal. Hence the importance placed on what I've recently seen referred to as the psycho-physiological attunement of the therapist to the client.

In Conclusion:

Relationship is an area of difficulty for many. In the beginning is relation, says Buber. For many of us in the West this is where the work is. Working on the self will also enable us to be in community with each other better, something we sorely need.

Perhaps cognition has been privileged for too long . The answers don't lie in the intellect alone. We need to be open to what is beneath cognition. This isn't to belittle the intellect, but rather to correct an imbalance that has held sway for too long.

This involves a slowing down, and a willingness to dwell in a subtle field. It involves interest, attention and a staying with what arises. The client may not be obviously attending to being in the present moment, but that is where the therapist is called to be.

Psychotherapy for the ordinary person. I think I'll make that my mantra. I think it was Bion who said that therapy was too good to be wasted on the ill. The value of depth inquiry for those of us who are supposedly normal is immense.

I feel it's not too large a claim to make that Core Process is at the forefront of a paradigm shift in the therapeutic process. A colleague summarized the basics of the approach as follows:

  • being grounded in embodied awareness
  • daring to stay present and open to being affected by clients
  • how to stay present and not to split off into cerebral analysis There is a simplicity in the above and a profundity.

About the author Susan Groves has an MA in Core Process Psychotherapy with a private practice in Cape Town South Africa. She can be contacted on +27 (0)21- 7616373 or by email at susancgroves@gmail.com. www.susangroves.com

For further information: Being and Becoming: Psychodynamics, Buddhism, and the Origins of Selfhood. This article was first published in New Therapist, May/June 2011 and is used with permission www.newtherapist.com.

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