What is Core Process Psychotherapy?

Core Process Psychotherapy

Core Process Psychotherapy is based upon a combination of western and Buddhist psychology. It is a relatively new tradition within the field of psychology and has been developed primarily by Maura Sills over the past 25 years.

For me there are approaches to working within Core Process Psychotherapy that make it distinct from other forms of therapy.  These aspects can be broadly  understood to have derived from ancient Buddhist teachings; however, neither practitioners nor clients of Core Process are in any way expected to be of a Buddhist background. In reality, Core Process therapists may never refer directly to Buddhism at all.

• Staying Present

It is very easy to get lost in thought, particularly hopes and fears. In the therapy room, you will be encouraged to notice how things are for you moment to moment. It is through this gateway that difficulties from the past and your hopes and fears about the future, will be explored. What this offers is the opportunity to stay in real-time relationship with your past and future. In this way it is rare in Core Process that issues are looked at in isolation.

Through the process of staying present by slowing things down, whatever you end up exploring you will have left yourself a breadcrumb trail back to your life in the present moment; this, which takes practise, becomes very empowering because you are less likely to feel out of control and surprised by unresolved issues in your past.

• Embodied awareness: that is attention to body, senses, thoughts, feelings and speech.

How is it possible to stay in the present, and how do you know when you are? When you are truly present, whether it is with suffering or joy, you will experience connection with yourself, your environment and those who you are with in a more full and deep way. Learning to be with things, just as they are, is a life-long practice and for me, this is what the Buddha meant when he said that it is possible for suffering to end.

In Core-Process you will have the chance to become more aware of the whole of you – your body, your feelings, your thoughts, your sensations, and your source of wellbeing as it is these different aspects that will be tracked and observed in the therapy room and help to keep you present, moment to moment. I may work with visualisation, with how your body wants to move. I may sometimes work with art or writing and there may be times when we it feels right to negotiate physical contact with each other. All these and more are possible ways to explore your individual expression and feelings, your embodied state of being.

• Kindness

The Buddha was very kind. He wanted everybody to experience the release of suffering that he discovered.  By learning how to cultivate kindness towards yourself you will have the best chance for healing and transformation – after all you can be sure that there will be difficult days, and what feel like back-steps and if you can find a way to be ok with that and not beat yourself up you will benefit enormously. In this way Core Process values very highly the need to take your process at a pace that suits you.

It is an integral part of the therapy to find things in the session and in your daily life that nourish you. These acts of kindness to yourself will give you the confidence and support to safely explore the edges of difficulty, which may otherwise be overwhelming or re-traumatising. With this kindness, you will be able to bring more and more of you – the powerful, brilliant, talented bits as well as the angry, jealous, furious bits.

Currently the psychotherapy profession is undergoing development. Imminently all psychotherapists will be required to be government registered, meeting nationally set criteria. Core Process Psychotherapy is a UKCP registered training and therefore already meeting these standards. For more in-depth information about Core Process Psychotherapy, please click here to visit the Karuna Institute website.