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Bioenergetics: The Revolutionary Therapy That Uses the Language of the Body to Heal the Problems of the Mind Paperback – January 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin / Arkana; Reissue edition (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140194711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140194715
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Alexander Lowen is the creator of bioenergetics, which he has defined as "a therapeutic technique to help a person get back together with his body and to help him enjoy to the fullest degree possible the life of the body." Incorporating direct work on the body into the psychoanalytic process, Dr. Lowen practices psychiatry in New York and Connecticut and is the executive director of the Institute of Bioenergetic Analysis. He is married and lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Passionate Therapist on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me say at the outset that I believe Bioenergetics the therapy gave me my life back. Some of the ideas seemed 'far out' when I first heard of them, but Dr Lowen had described my situation so accurately in his writings that when he was describing the character that fits me, it felt like he was describing my life. I had never had the sense of being understood before. When I actually began practicing the therapy, I was able to experience a type of feeling that no other modality or idea had provided. Bioenergetics is not for the highly defensive--it holds up a mirror to our bodies and actual results in life that is usually not pretty in the beginning. or even middle, since growth takes time.

Many reviewers reference Dr Lowen's "famous" comment. He told that non-flattering story about himself to illustrate an aspect of his early character to help illustrate the 'problem' of character armor, not to report his motivation to write the book. The 'famous' remark was made to Wilhelm Reich in the early 1940's and the book was written in 1975! Another reviewer has referenced the fact Lowen did not incorporate much from other body-mind theorists (other than Reich). This is true. Rather than provide sheer high numbers of 'fingers pointing' (to the moon) Lowen wanted to provide one really good finger that could actually guide people. The possible strain of absolutism in his work I don't think is so much arrogance but rather the conviction, arising from long experience, that dabbling at growth just doesn't work.

Bioenergetics the book was written to 'manualize' and define concisely bio-energetics to an unfamiliar public. Because of that, it can appear that the concepts are asserted out of nowhere which is not perhaps the best introduction, especially if skepticism is strong.
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47 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lowen's book does what they all do -- it gets us back in touch with our genuine, inner selves by making the emotional expression of oneself through the body the vehicle for authentic self-expression and spontaneity. It liberated me to feel more spontaneously without self-judgment and self-criticism, and to express my feelings without fear of judgment by others. If you're having trouble feeling or being fully conscious of yourself and your feelings, read Lowen's books and give some thought to Bioenergetic psychotherapy -- both will help tremendously.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By vincent ryan on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book by Alexander Lowen, as I have done with many of his other works. He has a good writing style and he has much of interest to say. But his work is overshadowed by a few crucial flaws. Firstly, his ideas are presented in isolation from other discoveries and work done by scientists on the mind-body area throughout the 20th century, so it lies almost entirely outside, and unconnected to, the scientific exploration of the area. He writes as if he is the only one studying this topic. He doesn't even reference other somatic-orientated writers, either to agree or disagree. The lack of footnotes to other researchers at the end alone bear this out. Second it must be recognised that his theories boil down to personal conviction and not scientific rigour. His theories are based exclusively on his own case studies. So the research base is immediately limited and biased. For instance, his idea that body shape correlates to personality is laid out in great detail and "supported" by his own case studies and little more. His theories are never subjected to any peer-reviewed scientific investigation. It should be recognised that it would be possible to test some of his hypotheses around personality and the body, but he has never pursued this throughout his career. And therefore much of his theory is unsubstantiated and remains little more than conjecture (i.e, the contrary could easily be the case). Apart from this, his ideas on approaches to treatment is questionable. No doubt some might be beneficial to some, but as to what parts might be the basis for addressing psychological problems can not be examined impartially at this point. In summary, Lowen is no doubt interesting and influential, but his ideas are far from laid on a firm scientific foundation. And in a world swamped by competing incompatible psychotherapies, we need and should seek just that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Gardner on January 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
A most extraordinary book that for me bridged the gap or pulled together the more esoteric manifestations of dis-ease, basic psychology and the physical body.

Personally it helped me to see the connections between my mind and my muscles, in particular the hidden (from my conscious awareness) tensions therein. It gave me insight into the modern dis-ease of TAT (tired all the time) and the manifestations of ME and Fibromyalgia, for example.

It's not an in depth book but it gives you enough information to open up your mind to new possibilities and techniques, then it is down to you how far you wish to study this fascinating subject.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By L. Ponden on May 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book contains great insight and a very helpful, refreshing perspective of the human condition. However, it is also unintentionally humorous--and quite unhelpful--from the perspective that Alexander Lowen's primary aim is to be famous. He says so in a direct quote at the beginning of the book, and underscores his aim by citing his own work in footnote after footnote.

Half of the focus of this book is on delivering information. The other half is on delivering Alexander Lowen. That didn't work for me.
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