Modern Bioenergetic Analysis

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What is Bioenergetics?

Dr. Scott Bawm

Bioenergetics focuses on how patterns of muscular tension reflect an individual’s emotional history and include early childhood relationships with caregivers, physical and emotional traumatic experiences, and the degree to which self-development was possible. Many of my clients have experienced the benefits of Bioenergetics by addressing conflicts at a cognitive, emotional, and physical level. They have gained greater understanding and awareness of old patterns of action and reaction, increase the capacity to tolerate and resolve old pain, and increase the ability to experience joy and pleasure. 

What interventions are beneficial during the therapeutic process? 

From the first session, I provide guidance and support to help my clients go through their unique experience at their own pace. These interventions include:

Awareness Experiences :Body awareness interventions are designed to assist you in attending to your experience of your body. The focus is on areas of muscular tension, posture, breathing patterns, and the ways in which physical and emotional tensions, behavioral patterns, and mental states are related.  Methods of increasing body awareness may be suggested and encouraged. 
Physical Interventions:Physical interventions are used to help bring more aliveness and movement to your body.  These movement experiences may focus on areas of your body that have chronic muscular tension, poor circulation, low levels of awareness, or restricted movement abilities.  They may include stretching exercises to enhance the tone of your muscles, breathing skills to charge the body or create states of relaxation or stress reduction tools to expand the range of state you are able to experience.  The purpose of these interventions is to increase energy, charge, and feeling by reducing chronic muscular tension and increasing the capacity for movement and self-expression. 
Directed Expression: Difficult or traumatic material from your past is sometimes the focus of therapeutic work, and the release, understanding, and integration of these feelings through procedures that facilitate emotional expression can be a therapeutic goal. To assist you in moving toward this goal, I may suggest directed experiences in emotional expression.  I may suggest you participate in body movements, exercises, and experiences that can deepen emotional expression and help you clarify your feelings. In turn these experiences are designed to support an expanded range of feelings and a deepening of emotional awareness. 
Touch: In Bioenergetic analysis, touch is sometimes used to help you bring awareness to your body, to release the tension in chronically held muscle groups. To support you during the release of past traumatic material, or to assist you in making new movements outside your usual restricted range of motion.  The guidelines for the use of touch include asking your permission when touch is involved, respecting your personal boundaries and preferences in the use of touch, and staying within the guidelines for the use of touch designated by my licensing board and professional association.  Under no circumstances will the use of touch in therapy involve sexual areas of the body. 

What are the effects of utilizing bodywork as part of your therapeutic approach?

  • Like other forms of therapy, Bioenergetic Analysis can heighten awareness of the past and present. These procedures can serve to bring up memories, images, and sensations that have been previously unconscious. They can also intensify feelings or emotional experiences that are connected to past traumas. Although the goal of such increased awareness is to help resolve emotional conflicts, there may be times during treatment, as in other forms of psychotherapy, when the feeling may be uncomfortable or intense. As your therapist, I will work with you to understand these experiences and help you to focus and integrate them.

  • Bioenergetic Analysis can result in the intensification of feelings toward friends, relatives, or the therapist. These feelings can be either positive or negative and relate to established patterns of emotional connection and bonding as well as what is occurring in the present. By attending to the interpersonal part of the process as it emerges in therapeutic work, painful and constricting patterns of relating can be better understood and new, more satisfying ways of relating can be achieved.

  • It also involves the exploration of the established boundaries around the self experience—the boundaries of the body that are felt if touch is applied, the boundaries of the emotional self that are stimulated when contact is made with others, and the interpersonal boundaries that are affected when deep emotional issues are shared with others. The goals of Bioenergetic Analysis include an exploration of the way these boundaries create and maintain the patterns in the experience of the self and in relationships. Out of this exploration, changes can be facilitated to promote greater self-development and well-being.

What is the training and qualifications of a Bioenergetic Psychotherapist?

Becoming a certified Bioenergetic therapist requires the completion of the four-year program by the Southern California Institute of Bioenergetic Analysis, yearly participation in Bioenergetic conferences, and at least 140 hours of personal therapy with a certified Bioenergetic therapist.  It also involves obtaining at least 50 hours of clinical supervision with a certified Bioenergetic clinical supervisor. 

Personally,  my Bioenergetic journey has been and continues to be a life changing experience for me. I can relate to my clients when they connect with painful memories, explore their fears and take challenging risks by opening their hearts and exposing their vulnerabilities. It is a privilege to be part of their unique healing experience. 

Testimonials from Bioenergetic Therapists