some history

Bioenergetic analysis is a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Dr. Alexander Lowen in the early fifties. Having been impacted by Wilhelm Reich, who had been his therapist and mentor and who, in his time, had been one of Freud’s disciples, Alexander Lowen not only pursued Reich’s work but he also expanded on it. Among other things, he developed the concept of grounding and designed various exercises to help soften muscular tensions in order to allow fuller emotional expression.


What is bioenergetic analysis

Bioenergetic analysis is a form of psychotherapy that combines body work (postures, movements) and verbal, analytical work (character analysis). It postulates that all of us had to develop a defense system while growing up, in order to survive the painful situations we had to face during childhood and adolescence.

This defense system is not only structured in our psyche in the form of defense mechanisms, but is also reflected in our body in the form of chronic tension patterns that limit our vitality, our mobility as well as our expressive capacity.

Alexander Lowen believed, like his mentor Wilhelm Reich, that a holistic therapeutic intervention should not only include the body, but even consider it as a gateway to the deeper layers of the psyche and as a major tool to work on the resolution of unconscious conflicts.


IMportant Aspects in Bioenergetic Analysis Therapy


As we know, deep, natural breathing allows us to re-energize. Unfortunately, most often, our breathing is restricted when it is not altogether impaired due to chronic tension that gradually became structured in our body as we were growing up.

Bioenergetic analysis devotes much attention to the respiratory function. It works to restore this natural function in order to help us reconnect with and express repressed emotions that may have originally caused us to contract certain parts of our body in order to keep those emotions at bay.


Grounding is related to a person’s capacity to feel his/her connection with the ground, which is associated with being in touch with reality. Often times, our connection with the ground is precarious. We hold ourselves “up”, tightening up our jaw and tensing our shoulders, in an effort to “stay on top of things” instead of connecting with the ground, with the reality of the situation.

Bioenergetic analysis works to help us regain a sense of balance and confidence by helping us to connect with our center of gravity. This helps us to see a situation in a more realistic perspective which enables us to tap into her creative resources in order to face life’s challenges instead of avoiding them.


Basic Therapeutic Goal in Bioenergetic Analysis

The goal of bioenergetic analysis is primarily to help increase one’s vitality, expressiveness, as well as enhance one’s capacity to enjoy life.

To that extent, bioenergetic analysis devotes a lot of attention to the energetic circulation in the body. First, it focuses on helping a person become aware of muscular tension patterns and blocks interfering with the free flow of energy in her body. Then, with the use of postures as well as expressive movements, it seeks to soften tensions and dissolve the blocks in order to restore vitality on the somatic as well as on the emotional levels.


How does a bioenergetic session unfold?

At the beginning of a session, the person is invited to focus on what he/she feels and on the themes he/she wants to bring to the session.

Then, after a moment of verbal interaction, a bioenergetic analyst may offer to do body work. This kind of body work consists of postures or movements that are designed to help the person make connections between her feelings and her body sensations. Body work is actually what enables the person to become aware of where he/she is unconsciously “holding in” his/her emotions. In turn, this awareness will allow him/her to open up to a new range of expression. Analytical work always accompanies body work, so that the work is never purely somatic nor is it merely a collection of exercises done at random.

The analytical dimension of the work is designed to help a person deepen her awareness of what is going on for him/her on an emotional level, and to give meaning to these experiences within the context of his/her personal history. Thus, the person will gradually process and integrate whatever is experienced during the sessions and will develop creative new responses to the challenges he/she faces in his/her life.





For more information concerning Bionergetic Analysis, you may wish to view the video of a short speech I made during the May 1st, 2010 SoQAB Day held in Montreal and entitled "Historique et fondement de l'analyse bioénergétique". Simply click on the image to view the video which will open in a new window. Kindly note that this speech is available in French only.