What is Core Process Psychotherapy?
Core Process Psychotherapy (CPP) might be a bit of a clunky, mouthful of a name, but its aim is very simple – to bring the wisdom and awareness (mindfulness) practices of Buddhism into a one-to-one therapeutic context. Rather than an individual sitting down to still the mind and cultivate the art of being present to what is, moment after moment, two people – therapist and client – sit down together to enquire compassionately, in a whole body-mind sense, into how things are for the client. It is a gentle, highly effective way of bringing awareness to an individual's unique personality process and all the knots and difficulties that stop us from enjoying an easier, more joyful way of life.
But as well as offering an in-depth enquiry into the personal, CPP also brings an implicit understanding that our personality, with all its glitches, preferences, compulsions and buried wounds, is not the sum total of who we are. 'Co-arising' with all of that is something much more spacious. In CPP this is described as our core state: the inherently luminous, unified field of awakened heart/mind that can be experienced when we step back from our habitual, conditioned patterns of thinking and behaving. In Buddhism, the core state is sometimes described as our true nature, Buddha nature, awakened mind or brilliant sanity. It is a place of non-separation, and both Buddhism and CPP recognise that this fundamental state of wholeness, or health, is potentially available to all of us, no matter what our experience, in every moment.
Over time, the practice of slowing down and being in the present with an empathic other enables us to trust more in the fluidity and freedom of the core state. And it is this reconnection – to ourselves, to another human being, to our ever-present true nature – that allows the fearful, restrictive habits of the small self to ease and for long-held traumas to be resolved. It is the cultivation of awareness itself that opens the door to the possibility of deep and lasting transformation.