Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Friedman, H. and Glazer, R. 2010. Bioenergetic Therapy. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Bioenergetic therapy combines bodywork with psychoanalysis. Also known as bioenergetic analysis or simply bioenergetics, this therapeutic system was created by Alexander Lowen (2004), a protégé of Wilhelm Reich (see Sharaf, 1994), who in turn was Freud's student; as such, it stems from the Freudian psychoanalytic tradition. It is seen as a humanistic psychotherapy for its holistic mind-body approach and is also sometimes grouped with gestalt, orgonomy, and radix as a neo-Reichian therapy. Bioenergetics is a way to understand and therapeutically intervene both psychologically and physically. Diagnoses focus on both understanding psychological issues through traditional psychoanalytic concepts (e.g., defense mechanisms) and physical issues through observing bodily form (e.g., posture) and function (e.g., qualities of movement during respiration) stemming from Reich's (1980) insights into the role of chronic muscular tension patterns (body “armoring”) in shaping “character.”