What is Bioenergetic Therapy?

Close up of mother and father cradling baby's handBioenergetics is a form of psychodynamic psychotherapy that combines work with the body and mind to help people resolve their emotional problems and realize more of their potential for pleasure and joy in living.

Bioenergetics psychotherapists believe that there is a correlation between the mind and the body. What affects the body affects the mind, and what affects the mind affects the body.  The psychological defenses one uses to handle the pain and stress of life are also anchored in the body.  They appear in the body as unique muscular patterns that inhibit self-expression. These patterns can be identified and understood by bioenergetics psychotherapists who know how to look at the structure, movement, and breathing patterns in a person’s body.

Bioenergetics psychotherapists, like other psychotherapists, focus special attention on the muscular patterns in a person’s body. They are interested in these patterns and their relationship to movement, breath, posture, and emotional expression. Every physical expression of the body has meaning.

The bioenergetics psychotherapist studies muscular patterns and introduces the client to physical expressions or exercises to help them experience in present time these patterns of constriction in the body. The therapist explores with the client what it would feel like to begin to release these patterns and recover some of the feelings they have repressed during childhood and continue to repress in their adult life. The bioenergetics psychotherapist also helps clients come to understand how and why patterns of constriction developed and how these very defenses hindering their life today allowed them to survive an early environment that was not supportive of their being.

As these repressed emotions emerge, clients begin to realize that these patterns inhibit their capacity for spontaneity and creativity in self-expression. They begin to understand that as these defenses became chronic, so did the muscular patterns in their body. As clients progress in bioenergetics psychotherapy, old ineffective patterns that block connection, pleasure, spontaneity, and joy slowly dissolve.  Through the physical and emotional release in the body, the client can begin to experience safe, healthy, supportive connections with him/herself and others in new, more satisfying ways.


© Copyright 2007 by By Julie Simon. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Alex Doyl

    February 9th, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    I has heard recently about an interesting method of development of abilities of the person: the Method of Bronnikov.

    At the first stage train such technics as:

    * Development of sensations of bioenergy in a body,
    * creation of phantom sensations in hands,
    * creation of a power sphere, a spring, a beam,
    * creation of sensations of ease and weight in a body,
    * moving of sensations to a body on a mental command,
    * activization of vital forces in a body,
    * ability for some seconds to restore power,
    * for one-two day to recover at a flu without tablets,
    * ability to raise or lower arterial pressure to itself or other person

    And more many all interesting!

  • Ron Panvini

    February 24th, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Bioenergetic Analysis integrates traditional talk therapy with bodywork, giving us a tangible physical and emotional way of healing our psychological wounds. More than a series of exercises or techniques, Bioenergetic Analysis is a powerful, in-depth expressive process that helps us live more passionate, pleasurable and creative lives.

  • Sue

    March 14th, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    I would be extremely grateful if you would kindly let me have details of a well qualified bioenergetics practitioner who is nearest to or in Omaha, Nebraska. Thank you so much.

  • Abe

    October 2nd, 2016 at 12:16 AM

    How is this different from the therapy known as FOCUSING by: Eugene Gendlin ?

  • Lisa

    May 13th, 2020 at 3:10 PM

    I would say that focusing is more of being in a meditative state. Still, as far as I’m aware he mentions nothing of movement. BE is all about moving your body, going to the edge of your comfort zone where the stress/trauma is held in your muscles to then release the pattern that’s been held in your muscles/cells. You can then create new pathways within the mind with the openness/expansion that comes from doing the exercises. I think in a way it tricks the Subconscious, in a kinder gentler way than trying to figure all the stuff out via talk therapies. Where you sit, therefore creating more anchors of the things you’ve experienced holding it in your body. Western talk therapies I think are missing the point.
    The body keeps score and holds all the wisdom.

  • Linda N

    June 30th, 2017 at 9:03 PM

    I notice that the article says the bioenergetics therapist, like other psychotherapists focuses on muscular patterns. I would say this is unlike other psychotherapists. That is a key difference, that careful attention to the body.

  • Shatzi W

    January 9th, 2018 at 11:28 AM

    Please let me know of Bioenergetic Therapists in Manhattan

  • Joanne Margaret D.

    July 22nd, 2018 at 10:32 AM

    Looking for a Bioenergetics therapist in the south bay, CA, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro, etc.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    July 22nd, 2018 at 5:36 PM

    Dear Joanne,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, http://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Kind regards,

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Devin

    October 16th, 2019 at 7:38 AM

    I have personally met the son of the founder of bioenergetics. He is my classmate.

  • Kaelyn

    October 25th, 2021 at 6:17 PM

    What type of patients should not receive bioenergetic therapy?

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