A form of post-Reichian pyschotherapy
that combines bodywork
with the more traditional talking
cure. In contrast with other forms of therapy
there is no taboo against the therapist touching the patient. For instance forms of massage are often used to help release deep muscular tensions that are seen, in Reichian therapies, as the expression of the long term suppression of emotions.
Bioenergetics was created by Alexander Lowen a pupil of Wilhelm Reich from 1940-1952 and derives from Reich's work on character analysis and his use of physical intervention to treat people. It views the human personality in terms of energetic processes and sees the body as a central part of understanding and treating emotional conditions. By breaking down emotional barriers expressed through the body it aims to to restore to people the capacity for joy and self expression and their ability to act spontaneously and experience pleasure. Of particular importance is freeing up the circulation of energy in the body - it sees the suppression of this, in its different forms, as the result of emotional tensions and conflicts that might be expressed in difficulties in breathing or in lower back pain. Anxiety, for instance is often accompanied by a suppression of breathing (often literally as a kind of spontaneous choking) and a suppression of movement in the diaphragm leading to a lowered circulation of energy because someone is not breathing fully and a cutting off of sexual feelings at the waist.
To treat these kinds of things various processes are used - in particular there are a set of bioenergetic exercises that are used - these often focus on 'grounding', increasing energy and removing obstructions in breathing fully - alongside talking as you would in a normal counselling or therapy session.
More information can be found in the book Bioenergetics written by Alexander Lowen and first published in 1975.