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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified 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. A perhaps better introduction to Lowen's work is Joy: The Surrender to the Body and to Life (Compass) If one reads Lowen's work with half an open mind, one's point of view will change about the body and its role in happiness.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified 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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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
good takeoff from wilhelm reich's work; integrates body work with psychotherapy exercises; still hung up on freud's concentration on sex; as opposed to carl jung
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've been covering a lot of different theories in my psych program, including Bioenergetics. Personally, I find later somatic developments such as Hakomi to be more refined and less culturally biased than this stuff, but if you're going to read what Bioenergetics is about, you might as well read Lowen. My actual complaint with this book is not the content, which is interesting at least in understanding the historical ancestors of modern somatic psychology, but in the flimsy nature of the book. The binding is terribly weak. Several times, while reading a page for the first time, the page will just come right out of the book when I try to turn it. I have a dozen pages that have come out that way so far, and I'm not even done reading it yet. Perhaps the problem is not widespread and it's just my copy, but I wanted to mention it, so that if others register the same complaint, you will know that it's a widespread issue. Don't know what other options there might be, but if you can find a copy that isn't a Penguin Compass book, you will probably be better off.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I don't write many reviews, but so many of the reviewers of this book simply don't recognize the great value of this book that I have to make a comment.

I learned the ideas in this book decades ago, near the beginning of my career as a somatically and holistically oriented psychotherapist.

What I learned from Lowen still serves me and my clients to this day.

It is a classic.

Lowen is the major writer who took Wilhelm Reich's ideas and created a differentiated understanding of the specific body types of people arrested at different levels of development.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This was a pretty good book ~ somewhere between enjoyable and technical. Definitely dry, but did help me understand bioenergetics therapy and it's origins.
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on February 2, 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
For this book to be worth one's time you must have an intense interest in this field. If you do it might rate a five but to me it was money poorly spent.
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