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Individual differences |
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Bioenergetic Analysis is a body-oriented psychotherapy based on the expression of feelings and the re-establishment of energy flow in the body. Developed out of Wilhelm Reich's character analysis technique by Alexander Lowen and others, it is practised under the auspices of the International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis.
Bioenergetic Analysis recognises several clearly circumscribed human character structures, each able to be "read" in the form and posture of the individual's body: schizoid, oral, masochistic, psychopathic, rigid and narcissistic. Bioenergetic treatment involves the adoption of one of a number of "stress positions" designed to promote the confrontation of the individual with his or her structure, and the repressed emotions holding it together. The most common position is standing upright, knees slightly bent, weight on the centre to outside of the feet, belly relaxed (the "grounded" position); then fists pushed into the middle of the back (to open the chest region}; and head up and chin pushed slightly forward (assertion of the right to be/feel). Bioenergetic Analysis is practised as an individual and as a group psychotherapy.
In therapy groups, the most common application of bioenergetics is in exercises such as beating a pile of mattresses with a tennis racquette or the fists, or lying on the back on a mattress kicking and yelling.
The basic tenet is that when a person breathes deeply, he or she can begin to feel deeply, and that with deep feeling comes a resurgence of repressed feelings and lost memories, which need to be understood both on the feeling and reflective levels through catharsis, verbal processing and the physical grounding of the individual in emotional reality.
Bioenergetic Analysis Societies exist in all states of America, and throughout the world. The International Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis publishes The Journal of the IIBA, focusing on issues related to Bioenergetics, and Bioenergetics Press now has republished most of Dr. Lowen's previously out of print works as well as his new autobiography Honoring the Body: The Autobiography of Alexander Lowen, M.D..
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