The Objective Observer Self, Mask Self, Lower Self, and Higher Self

When working with a Core Energetics Therapist, you will be learning about the importance of the Objective Observer Self (OOS), Mask Self (MS), Lower Self (LS), and Higher Self (HS).  These different energies are some of the foundational understandings of the human experience from which Core Energetics has been developed.  An excellent resource for this subject is a book called “The Undefended Self”, by Susan Thesenga; I highly recommend picking up a copy if you are interested in reading about it more extensively.  Below I have provided  brief descriptions to help you get started.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions ~ I’m more than happy to talk about it!



Objective: (a) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions
(b) having actual existence outside of the mind
(source: Oxford English Dictionary)
Objectivity: a noun that means a lack of bias, judgment, or prejudice. Maintaining one’s objectivity is the most important job of a judge.
(online dictionary)

Subjective:  based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
(source: Oxford English Dictionary)

When we are making the effort to truly see the ways in which we are defended, objectivity is our greatest ally. When we are asking the questions “what is the cause of my destructive behavior?”, “why do I continue to choose a partner who is emotionally unavailable?”, “what am I doing to contribute to my own suffering?”, the most accurate answer will be the one from our objective observing self (OOS).  When we want to avoid the truth by way of inaccurate answers, we engage in our subjective observer self therefore justifying our defense and perpetuating our limited awareness; we can continue to blame others for our misery, for our lack of success, for all of our problems in life.

If we want to succeed in moving our stuck places and experiencing everlasting transformation, first we need to step into the role of self responsibility by developing our OOS.  I love this description from the Undefended Self:

“The parts of ourselves that are already developed take on the task of welcoming into consciousness and transforming the other parts.  The mature parts of ourselves become the “helpers” to the undeveloped parts.  All our helping selves guide us on our evolutionary journey toward maturity and wholeness.  We do need the help of outer teachers, healers, therapists, and guides, but we must remember that the goal is also to awaken the inner teacher/healer who is ever present and ready to guide us.

The objective observer is a positive ego function.  It is a bridge to the higher self that we can experience in ordinary ego reality.  It is a benign witness to our inner processes and outer events.  It simply notes, without judgement, whatever comes to the surface of our awareness.  It welcomes especially those  messages from the unconscious which brings us potentially new information about ourselves.  It does not discriminate between the “good” and the “bad” that emerge from within; it welcomes all awareness.”



Our mask is made up our self~idealized image, and false beliefs and images of the world.  These false beliefs and images come from over generalizing an experience from when we were very young.  An example would be someone whose  parents worked a lot and didn’t spend quality time with them when at home forming the belief “my parents don’t want me, I must be unlovable”.
The self~idealized image is the way we present ourselves to the world according to what we want people to see or what we think they want to see.  The mask is our trickery, our smokes and mirrors, designed to distract everyone from our true selves.  How do you want to be seen?  What do you think people need to see in order for you to be loved and accepted?


The lower self is our first line of defense.  It is our “no” to being open, trusting, unified, courageous, to be guided by wisdom, i.e. our higher self.  It is our child consciousness who wants things to be the way they want it and right  now!  Lower self energy is direct, demanding, and driven by fear, pride, and will.  It is our resistance; no I will not open my heart to loving and being loved (I’m scared I will get hurt ~ fear), no I will not ask for what I need (I’m so good at taking care of myself I don’t need others ~ pride), no I will not reach for what I want (instead I will do something else that is unfulfilling ~ will).

Take a moment to connect with your lower self.  Feel it in your body.  Ask yourself “what are my demands of the world?  what do I say no to even though it costs me joy?  what am I afraid of?  how do I see myself as superior to others?”.

“Undefended Self” by Susan Thesenga
Pathwork Lecture 14: The Higher Self, the Lower Self, and the Mask*
*please note: the Pathwork Lectures refer to “Lord”, “God”, and “Jesus”. In sharing this information, I am not endorsing any religion; all walks of faith are welcome in my practice.  Nor is it necessary or required to have religious beliefs centered around this language in order to benefit from these lectures; again, it applies to any walk of faith.  If you do not practice spirituality related to “Lord, God, Jesus”, I suggest substituting with what is true for you, for example ~ “spirit”, “wisdom”, “Goddess”, “higher power”, etc..  If you would like to know about my personal spiritual beliefs and practices I welcome a conversation.  Please feel free to contact me via phone or email.  May we all be safe, well, peaceful, and happy.