John C. Pierrakos, MD, founded Core Energetics, an evolutionary therapy in the mid 1970’s. Originally, he was a student of Wilhelm Reich, MD, and co-founder of Bioenergetics, along with Alexander Lowen. Bioenergetics grew out of Reich’s work with 0rgonomy and emphasized many similar principles. The main difference involved standing patients up, teaching them to ground and take responsibility for their lives. With the formation of Core Energetics, based on the synthesis of the Pathwork spiritual discipline and Bioenergetics, Dr. Pierrakos’s mission was to expand psychotherapy beyond the traditional Freudian approach and beyond Bioenergetics to one that embraced the whole personality, the physical body, and the inherent spirituality of the individual. He left Bioenergetics in 1974 in order to establish an evolutionary therapy that integrated spirituality with energy theory and psychodynamics. His dedication to this work has inspired many people throughout the world. He developed Core Energetic practitioner training programs under the umbrella of The Institute of Core Energetics. Training sites evolved in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, and Australia.
After emigrating from Greece in his early 20’s, John Pierrakos, MD, attended and graduated from the University of the State of New York, Downstate Medical School in 1947. He completed three years post-graduate training in psychiatry at the Downstate Medical School in 1951. He was a Junior Staff Psychiatrist at Kings County Psychiatric Hospital in Brooklyn, NY and Lt. Commander in the US Navy, Assistant Director of the Psychiatric Treatment Center, US Naval Station, Portsmouth, VA, from 1952-1954. In 1954, he began a private psychiatric practice in New York City and in 1955, he co-founded the Bioenergetic Institute with Alexander Lowen, MD. With his first wife he had two daughters, Madeleine and Eva. He left Bioenergetics in the early 1970’s and married Eva Brach, a channel, who founded the Pathwork Community. After breaking with Lowen over the role of spiritual studies in practitioner training, he created the Center of the New Age in New York City. His work with energy and spirituality at the center of the New Age was the foundation for Core Energetics. Dr Pierrakos passed away February 1, 2001, a few days prior to his 80th birthday.
John Pierrakos, MD, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the United States of American Association for Body Psychotherapists in June, 1998. He is the author of many articles and two books: Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal, 1987, Liferhythm Publishers: Mendocino, CA and Love, Eros, and Sexuality: The Union Between Man and Woman; Liferhythm Publishers: Mendocino, CA. His dream was to continue to teach, heal, organize the information he attained, write about it, and guide others to a greater consciousness. These goals continue to be met through his students and colleagues.
Written by Karyne B. Wilner, PsyD
March 31, 2008