Egyptian, raised in France, adopted by Mexico and temporarily residing in Spain, Cherif Chalakani (1951) is a child of exile. A nomad traveller between countries and cultures, his studies speak to his willingness to blur the boundaries between academicism, traditional paths and alternative streams.
After graduating in Mathematics and Statistics in Paris, Cherif studied a Masters in Human Development and Orientation in Mexico City. Trained in body-centred psychotherapy at the Wilhelm Reich Institute in Mexico, he combines his studies with an exploration of the practice of surrender in movement, inspired by pantomime, tai chi and katsugen. He has practiced Vipassana meditation since 2000 and takes the meditative attitude from stillness to movement, from the individual to the group.
After meeting Doctor Claudio Naranjo in 1978, Cherif became his student first and his associate later. He has facilitated several modules of the SAT Program in Spain since its inception in Babia, in 1987, and most recently in France and Germany.
Between 1982 and 1985 Cherif worked at UNHCR (United Nations Refugee Agency) in Mexico, offering group modules for Central American tortured political prisoners.
His therapeutic approach builds on two complimentary themes. The first is biographical and deals with the toxic relationships that appear within the family of origin. Since the 1990s, he has brought this approach to Mexico by offering a re-parenting workshop, «El Árbol que Canta», and also facilitates experiences in France with the Hoffman Process.
The second theme of his profession focuses on the experience of birth. Over the course of almost four decades and to the pace of his personal growth, he has created and honed “Espacios Nacientes,” an approach that places gentle attention on the body as it addresses the experiences of birth in its physical and metaphorical dimensions.
His proposal channels the words of Pablo Neruda, “I was born to be born.” .” In the journey of life, each step is a birth, a potential metamorphosis, an invitation to let what we can no longer use die so that our vital potential can be born. Birth, in this sense, is the primary matrix that, throughout our lives, spawns the processes of transformation, and is also the sacred rite of passage that connects us to life and its mystery.
As a body psychotherapist and spiritual birth assistant, Cherif Chalakani invites us to travel lightly through the landscapes of life and embrace the spaces of possibility with openness.
- • Cover photograph: Manuel Cuesta
“Every day I practice living with awareness and kindness and I am a constant student of the unexpected. In fact, I teach notions that I need to remember time and time again.”