Remove Your Mask

Marta is crying and pounding her fists on a pillow calling for her mother. Nothing about this would be unusual but for the fact that Marta is an adult woman and has children of her own.  We are in a Core Energetics workshop.  The first ever in Poland. It is offering help for you to find yourself.

Ala Konopko-Ulanecki and Ela Szczygielska-Carl came to Poland to show how working with the body and releasing one’s emotions can  have a long lasting effect  on a person’s life. Agata Jakuszko-Sobocka, the co-organizer of  this workshop in Lublin, participated in a similar workshop in London.  She was very impressed.

“Many things changed in my life,  she emphasizes, “that’s why I know this works.

“Core Energetics drastically changed my life and every day I see how it deeply affects my work with my clients.  I have had a deep desire  for others to also experience this.

Introducing Core Energetics to Poland feels like a  privilege and a responsibility  to me and the most important calling I have ever had in my life”  says Ala. “ I would like to establish Core Energetics here because I know it is effective.”


There are written statements on the easel that describe the Masks we wear on a daily basis. The workshop leaders explain that we all use our masks and at times, they are necessary. But our Masks are the most superficial part of our personality.

In our Masks we hold the defenses we created to  compensate for the  intolerable hurts of our past.  In our Masks, we  work to uphold our idealized self –  that what we constantly think we should be.  In this place we play the roles we learned to play in our families of origin- such as the mediator or  the person who needs to always be strong and so on.

Unfortunately, even with a strong investment in to our Mask, it never pays off.  Because our Masks hold down our  energy, don’t allow us  to be open and do not teach us how to live our lives fully.

Masks usually develop out of necessity.  If you grew up as the oldest child who had many obligations,  as an adult, you would  probably wear the Mask of power. Even though in the depths of your soul, you would love it if someone took care of you.


Group members eagerly volunteer to work one by one on their issues.  This does not mean that the rest of the group does not get benefits.   When Andrew works on his emotions around his relationship with his brother, with  whom he wants to stop feeling responsible for, the room becomes very quiet.

Andrew begins hitting the foam cube and yells “Take care of yourself, I will not help you any more.”  In a moment, he is crying.  He says he is starting to feel lighter.  Ela asks, “Are you now ready to say this to your brother? Will you be able to remember what you are experiencing in this workshop when you are in a critical moment with him?”

Marta, who identified her Mask of power, has a great job, has life all figured out, admits finally, that she is often paralyzed from fear.  That she is usually in fear even though she appears totally self- confident.

Ela asks Marta to lay on her back on a foam mattress and call for her mother.

“She didn’t come to you?” Ela  asks.  “She didn’t come to you when you needed her? This may be why you are always afraid.”

Marta cries, shakes but then begins to smile.

“Now I understand why I always hate to go to my family home,” Marta clarifies, “ Why I don’t even want to make contact with my own mother.”

With Andrew, Marta and Beata,   who began to understand that she was unloved in her family, all began to experience a sense of  retrieving themselves.  Crying is heard.  Grazyna states that she  like Marek has difficulty allowing herself to be close to anyone and open up to people.


Core Energetics, created by Dr. John Pierrakos, is an evolutionary method of psychotherapy that bridges body-oriented psychotherapy with spirit. It is an off-shoot of Bioenergetics, which John Pierrakos  and Alexander Lowen originated.  “ Core Energetics held The basic vision of Dr. Pierrakos’ Core Energetics integrates not only the body, mind, emotions and will but also the spiritual life of a person.” explains Ala. She is the main translator of this method while Ela understands Polish well and also teaches in Polish.  Pierrakos found that patients seek help for their internal issues and interpersonal problems, recovery from trauma and other difficult experiences stemming from earlier trauma but  they also have  a longing to find sense to their lives. People instinctively want to live their lives in a clearer and more authentic manner and discover the meaning of their life. Pierrakos deeply believed that a client needs to be made aware of his unique qualities and embrace the universal qualities of love, wisdom and balance.

The workshop leaders explained that CORE means the  Center of Right Energy, our essence that guides our life.  The vision of Core Energetics does not only promise a return to health on every level of  being, but it also gives us access to our creative selves which makes our life more full of “Life.”

This is the main reason to work through a person’s Lower Self  which often hides the trauma of our past.  Our unexposed and unexamined Lower Self holds us in aggressive patterns and explosions that we are often not able to control.


Only  by penetrating  and exposing what is behind our masks, can the Higher Self liberate  our old trauma and a new life’s journey begin.  It is very important to work with both  body and spirit.

“Even the structure of our bodies teaches us something about ourselves,” says Ela.  If we lived in constant fear as a child, we had to find some kind of mask,  like the mask of power.  We have  played our role even though is  painful and hard, but we have no other way to negotiate life.

“The journey to our Lower Self leads a client to his/her wounded place. Before that, we have  a great deal of repressed energy held by our Lower Selves,”  explains Ala.  Consequently, we express ourselves and make decisions about our beliefs from our psyche, our personality, that decided long ago to go to great lengths to not feel and to avoid our bodies which holds that  pain.   When we start moving our bodies and moving  that painful energy, we realize that we didn’t die. It is possible to  actually feel the opposite- we feel more open to our life force, we become less rigid which makes us more accessible and present. We begin to feel  the results of pleasure and vitality instead of the negative pleasure that traps us in our Masks, all held in place with pride, will or power.


If anybody thinks this workshop was easy to get through, they would be wrong. Many unexpected emotions show up and impulses are not predictable.

Core Energetics works to bring to  consciousness  the many negative emotions like anger, jealousy, envy, shame. “ Working through these feelings finally helps a person mature emotionally and find more balance in their life,”  says Ala. By working with the body, these techniques move through the energetic blocks that were created to hold the pain of the past. Core Energetics offers a quicker way to a more satisfying life.

Removing one’s masks and reaching towards one’s Higher Self isn’t an easy process but it is worth trying. Because nothing is more satisfying than finally understanding and accepting  oneself and one’s life which is the basis of our humanity.

author:  Magdalena Gorostiza
source:  www.kobietaxl.pl

*Imiona uczestników zostały zmienione