Bioenergetic Analysis is a form of psychotherapy that combines analysis, active work with the body, and relational therapeutic work. The approach is grounded in an understanding of the importance of the body – and the energy that underlies both body and mind – to psychological development and emotional health. A basic tenet of Bioenergetics is that the person is his or her body, and all life experience is ultimately body experience. The body’s expressions, posture, flexibility and motility, energetic integrity (or fragmentation, blocks and splits), and patterns of muscular holding tell a story of a person’s emotional history. They also reveal the limitations and strengths of the personality and reflect the person’s characteristic way of being in the world. Bioenergetics is rooted in a psychodynamic and body-oriented theory of development. It also incorporates attachment theory, trauma theory and psychoneurobiology. The goal of Bioenergetic therapy is more than the absence of symptoms – it is to have greater “aliveness”, pleasure, joy, love and vibrant health.
Bioenergetic therapists are trained to read the expression of a person’s body, resonate with their energy, feel their emotions, as well as listen to the words. The language of the body (posture, breathing, movement and expression) is kept in focus as an indicator of where a person stands on the way to a fuller sense of self – from the limitations of the past, to the fullness and/or freedom of the present and future. Bioenergetic techniques are incorporated to help a person get in touch with feeling, enhance self-perception, or develop greater self-expression or self-control.
In Bioenergetic Analysis, the therapeutic relationship provides a place of safety for healing to begin. Clients are helped to release chronic muscular tensions, manage emotions/feelings, expand the capacity for intimacy, heal sexual difficulties, tap and own autonomy and strength, and learn new, more fulfilling ways of relating to others. Tenderness, aggression and assertion – and their confluence in sexuality – are seen as core lifesaving forces.
Bioenergetic therapists are non-judgemental, “present” and interactive when working with clients. While each brings his or her own style of Bioenergetics to the work, they all move from a basic and empathic understanding of the body, mind and energy. Understanding the bodily and energetic nature of feeling allows Bioenergetic therapists to work with sensitivity and respect for the client’s boundaries and needs, even while working with powerful emotions.
Bioenergetic Analysis was developed by Alexander Lowen, M.D. as a significant modification and extension of the character analytic techniques of Wilhelm Reich, M.D., a student of Sigmund Freud.
Lowen has written many books on Bioenergetics, including but not limited to: The Language of the Body, Betrayal of the Body, Fear of Life, Spirituality and the Body, Narcissism: The Denial of the True Self and Joy. He has also written numerous monographs about the body and energy in physical and emotional health.
LOWEN DESCRIBES BIOENERGETICS:
|“It integrates work with the body, with the patient’s interpersonal relationships, and with his mental processes; each of which is correlated and interpreted in terms of the others… Bioenergetic Analysis starts with the reality of the body and its basic functions of motility and expression.”|